Money Anxiety

Money anxiety, also known as financial anxiety, is more common than ever. Money concerns in our lives causes stress and could eventually invite feelings of anxiety as a result. This anxiety can have a negative impact on the quality of your life. “Money Anxiety Disorder” can be used to describe a condition of constant unease and worry regarding money. This disorder is strictly a clinical diagnosis. However, as anxiety can develop from a multitude of reasons, money can invite those uneasy and worry feelings in. There are different relationships we can have with money. We can have concerns about having enough, are we using it right or we could have persistent patterns of self-limiting and destructive financial behaviour.



Basically, money anxiety is an emotional response to your financial situation. In simple terms, money anxiety is the fear of something happening to your finances or worrying about your income and where it is coming from. It is okay to have a bit of financial stress. There are ways to manage this, and it can be a normal part of life for most people. This anxiety can become problematic when there’s an ongoing fear. We can develop a list of types of money anxiety, and some of their effects.

  1. Avoidance

Minimizing money anxiety by refusing to think about it. You have no sense of your big-picture financial situation. For example, you could be constantly getting new credit cards, avoiding conversations about money, refusing to open credit card bills and insisting things are fine.

  1. Infidelity

This is when you lie about spending to your partner. Examples of this include, hiding investments and debt that you do not uncover to your partner.

  1. Hoarding

This when you stockpile money or objects, that provides a sense of safety or security. This is commonly associated with compulsive buying, never wanting to pass up a sale or compulsively acquiring free things. For example, anxiety when discarding items, difficulty organizing possessions and deep attachments to possessions that are mainly worthless.

  1. Compulsive Buying

This is where you can pursue social status and happiness through purchasing of things. This can often cause ‘chronic overspending’ and can have catastrophic effects on financial situations. You receive dopamine (feel good chemical), however this fades quickly, and you require another fix. Examples include impulse purchasing, being more excited about the purchase than the product and feelings of guilt after a shop.



  1. Trouble Sleeping

You may be lying awake at night, concerned about the next expense, or whether you’ll be able to pay for your next bill.

  1. No work-life balance

You may have the feelings of needing to dedicate your full days to stay afloat.

  1. Rigidity

You might budget down to the last cent and become more uneasy and worries when you must make minor changes.

  1. Family Conflict
  2. Gambling
  3. Substance Use


Overcoming money anxiety is possible, it just takes time and patience. At the heart, the goal is to realize that money is simply a means of exchange and can used for both good and bad. We have complied some steps to help getting on top of financial anxiety.

Face the issue with support

Most people find it helpful to have support to help them admit and stay on track of their finances. Reaching out to a trusted partner or friend and talking about the issue, can be the first step and support you need.

Make a budget

A budget can help where money will go each month. This will ensure that you are not spending too much on groceries and you can set firm limits to stay on while shopping.

Acknowledge it

Sitting down and writing the problem can make the issue clearer. For example, if someone wrote a goal such as paying off their credit card, the next step is to action how that is going to be done.

Social Support

A common feeling for people dealing with financial stress is that they are to blame or are embarrassed to admit the situation. Admitting these problems and seeking support from friends and loved ones can help, but sometimes seeking support from a group of similar people is most effective. This can allow for venting of fears and worries with people who can brainstorm and understand what you are talking about.

Professional Help

When money anxiety causes distress that does not go away, and impacts your everyday life, you should seek a mental health professional.



Though money anxiety isn’t a mental health diagnosis, therapy can still benefit you.

We can help you:

  • Let go of shame and guilt around past financial mistakes
  • Examine patterns of distorted thinking
  • Identify and address depression, anxiety, and other concerns
  • Address past trauma around money
  • Practice strategies for communicating with your family about money.

Further, you can consider a financial counsellor to help with guidance around your finances. Additionally, you can contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 or if this is an emergency, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.



If you wish to receive help for money anxiety and strategies to help you manage this, our experienced psychologists can assist you! Please download our referral form here and take it with you to your GP appointment for preparation of a referral.

You can also call 07 3102 1366 with any enquires into availability or booking appointments!

Disclaimer: Firstly, content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only and is not intended to replace advise from your doctor or registered health professional. Lastly, readers are urged to consult their registered practitioner for diagnosis and treatment for their medical concerns.


Articles that assisted this blog:

Swaim, E. (2022). Money Anxiety Is Common, But You Don’t Have to Handle It Alone. Healthline.

Sier, J. (2021). What is money anxiety? SpaceShip.

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