Every single one of us will go through a period of stress about money. For millennials, this might be more common than it was for your Baby Boomer parents, thanks to factors like coming of age during the Great Recession and the rise of the gig economy. But there's a difference between typical money stress and financial anxiety that's important to be aware of, especially since the best ways to tackle it are different.
The psychological definition of financial anxiety is "an uneasy and unhealthy attitude toward engaging with, and administering [...] personal finances in an effective way". It can be difficult to figure out whether you're just having everyday money worries — money is undoubtedly stressful — or whether your thoughts and behaviors around money are symptoms of anxiety.
There's no hard and fast test for financial anxiety; a therapist might be able to detect and talk about money issues, but many therapists and psychologists sense a taboo around discussing money in sessions, according to psychologist Stephanie Newman. But if you feel averse to the idea of examining your financial feelings in the first place, that could be sign number one. A bit of anxiety around money is incredibly common, but if your money worries are getting in the way of your life, it's time to take action. These are the seven biggest differences between financial anxiety and money stress.