If finances make you stressed, you’re not alone. Studies have shown that money is a top stress producer among Americans. But while you can’t make it through life completely immune from this sort of stress, it is possible to significantly reduce it by following some key steps:

  1. Get Organized. Take a look at what items you already own, then take a look at what debt you have accumulated. Knowing where you stand, good or bad, goes a long way towards reducing your worry.
  2. Track Your Income and Expenses. Not knowing what you are earning and spending is also a major source of stress.
  3. Have a Goal. Reaching a destination is much easier when it’s clearly defined.
  4. Use Technology. Things like banking apps, budgeting tools, expense trackers, and investment calculators are all available for you to use, and are often free.
  5. If You Don’t Know, Learn. Understanding your finances, especially things such as credit cards, investments, and debt repayment, is critical to reducing worry. If you don’t understand, then learn or hire someone to teach you. Make sure it’s someone who charges by the hour and not through a commission.

Bottom line: financial stress is rooted in a perceived or real lack of control. When you get a firm grasp on where you stand and where you are going, you gain a sense of control and your stress level drops.