Money Matters

Is too much debt stressing you out at work?

December 10, 2013 | Alliant Credit Union

Recognizing the often hidden symptoms of debt may help you leave your financial troubles at home.

Jean Chatzky PhotoWhen you think about the impacts of debt, you can probably name the big ones: financial costs, stress and relationships. Added to this list is one that you may not immediately consider: your on-the-job performance. Do you ever spend time at work thinking about your finances? How about paying bills or checking your accounts online? If you do, you’re not alone.

Being distracted at work or spending time worrying about your finances on company time is not a good thing. It may mean you’re not as productive as other employees without the distraction. And in this economy, that spells trouble.

The question is: What do you do about it?
Sure, I could try to tell you to leave your financial stress at home and dedicate yourself to your work while on the clock. That’ll last until the next collection agency finds you at your desk. Instead, do the following:

Leave the office to deal
If you have financial calls to make during work hours, get out of the office and try to get them done over lunch. Office walls (not to mention cubicles) are too paper thin for you to have any confidence that your business will stay your business.

is too much debt causing you stress

Make a plan
A few years ago, I conducted a study on money and happiness. One of the findings I found most interesting was that achieving your goals makes people happy, sure, but what makes them just as happy is the feeling of making progress toward those goals. So, if you have debt, the key is to understand how much is there and then make a plan to tackle it – step by step. Crossing off your benchmarks along the way brings a serious feeling of satisfaction and reduces financial stress. But it’s not possible if you haven’t mapped out where you’re trying to go.

Get some help
Some benefits departments, particularly of larger companies, now offer programs that help employees get out of debt – much like they help employees find assistance for their older parents, lose weight or stop smoking. If you work for a large company, call the benefits department to see what’s available. You may also want to reach out to a not-for-profit credit counselor who can put you on a debt management plan that will lower your interest rates.

As a member of Alliant Credit Union, you’re eligible to take advantage of GreenPath Debt Solutions, one of the industry’s most respected financial counseling programs – for free. To learn more about the financial counseling available free to Alliant members, visit the Financial Counseling page on our website.
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