Fear can consume you. The anxiety of the unknown can drive you to pull the blanket over your head, whether you're worried about a rustling sound outside your bedroom window or that you won't have enough retirement savings.
Financial fears — not wanting to check your credit, confront your debt or even discuss your student loans — can feel especially shameful. But facing those fears can empower you to take action.
1. STUDENT LOAN STRESS
Student loans typically topped the list of most-feared financial topics among adults. Availing a loan to fund your studies and then the cloud of repayment can be a nightmare.
HOW TO CONQUER IT: Understand your loans in detail — that's key to knowing whether you're on the best repayment plan. Know each loan's term, balance and interest rate.
2. RECESSION ANXIETY
Indicators like slowing global economic growth hint that a recession might be coming, raising fears of job loss and asset depletion.
HOW TO CONQUER IT: Shore up your savings and diversify your skills. Build up at least Rs 1 lakh in savings to cover an emergency. After that, work toward having a few months' worth of expenses saved in case of job loss. Make saving easier with direct deposits from your paycheck or automatic transfers savings.
On the professional side, see how you can improve your job skills, your network, your resume. That way, if the unfortunate does happen, you've already laid the foundation to transition to a new position.
3. CREDIT CARD DEBT CONCERNS
Paying off credit card debt can feel like a never-ending task, but there are ways to get it done.
This fear can be a self-fulfilling prophecy: You're afraid to check your overall debt because of how high it might be, but while you're not looking, you keep accruing interest.
HOW TO CONQUER IT: List each account, interest rate and balance. Then choose a payoff strategy. One popular option is the debt snowball, where you pay off your smallest debts first then roll those payments toward your bigger debts.
4. CREDIT CRISIS
Ever been afraid to undergo a credit check or apply for credit because you thought your credit profile wasn't up to snuff? You're not alone. Many millenials face the same dilemma.
HOW TO CONQUER IT: Check your own credit score at your favourite personal finance website or bank website, and access your credit reports for free via CIBIL.com. Looking at your score and reports will help you understand your options for improving your credit.
Go through your credit report with a fine-tooth comb and contest any untrue information. For bringing up your score, start on positive financial behaviours, like making on-time payments.
If you use credit cards, keeping the percentage of your credit limit you use below 30 percent on all cards will help too.
5. BROKE RETIREMENT BLUES
People tend to have a kind of feeling of hopelessness when it comes to the idea of retiring. But starting early is most important, not waiting until you can put away a lot.
HOW TO CONQUER IT: If you have a workplace retirement plan that offers an employer match, contribute enough to get it. An individual retirement account is a good alternative if you don't have a workplace plan. Set yourself up for success by automating contributions and bumping up how much you're saving every time you get a raise.
Avoid withdrawing money from your retirement account to get the maximum benefit from compound interest, where you earn interest on your interest.
"The magic of compound interest is truly magic — and it works. After you've been saving for years, your investment begins to double a lot faster. For millennials, now is the time to start investing.
This Associated Press report has been modified for the Indian context.