Financial stress

Is money keeping you up at night?

Financial pressure is one of the biggest sources of stress for people working in small business. Unpredictable income, cash flow and delayed payments are common experiences, and can put you at increased risk of poor mental and physical health, and family conflict. It is also often compounded by other aspects of running your own business, such as high work demands and longer hours.

There’s always another new pressure coming every day, whether it’s the rent being due or the registration on the company vehicles being due, or the insurances being due as well as the occasional bad paying client. It’s that roll-on effect of never being able to get their head above water.

Ben, Entertainment industry

For some, financial stress can also be a barrier to seeking help. You may feel like you can’t afford treatment, or that you are unable to take the time off work to get the help you need.

If you are feeling like you’re struggling to stay on top of things financially, there are ways you can protect yourself from the strain mentally as well as in your pocket.

Beating financial stress: it’s not just about money

Financial stress is a form of stress that can impact on you and your health. By focusing on self-care and prevention, not only will you alleviate some of the symptoms of financial stress, but you’ll be more resilient when pressure mounts.

Minimising financial stress will also help you work more efficiently during business hours and allows you to be present in your home life.

Tips for dealing with financial stress

  • Organise, categorise and schedule your finances: Good records make it easier to manage money. There are a range of free tools and education available online to help organise your finances.
  • Get help for managing finances: This might be financial advice, financial counselling or if possible, someone to help manage your finances. Consider the benefits not just monetarily, but for your wellbeing and peace of mind.
  • Make a plan and set short and long-term goals: Planning and goal setting will help you see in advance when finances might be strained and allow you to deal with issues before they lead to stress.
  • Keep personal and business finances separate: Many business owners dip into their own pockets to top up business accounts or vice versa. Try to keep separate bank accounts, credit cards, and legal identities for business, or at least keep a good record of when you’re using personal items for business.
  • Don’t panic if you make mistakes: All small business owners are human and we don’t always get things right. If you make an error, work to resolve it quickly and move forward. Try to keep the big picture in mind.
  • Deal with debt: If debt is a serious concern for you, consider whether there are ways to negotiate, consolidate or plan a settlement. It’s always better to deal with debt early before it becomes more problematic.
  • Get professional support: This is often easier than you think. There are a range of free services available to assist with financial stress, or you can talk to your GP about ways to manage your stress. If you can’t speak to a professional during business hours, consider using an e-counselling service.

Financial help and assistance for small business

Grants, assistance and other supports

A government site that lists the grants and assistance available to help you run your business.

business.gov.au/assistance

What to do when you're in debt

A step by step guide to getting your business out of debt and your business finances back on track.

business.gov.au/finance/managing-debt/what-to-do-when-youre-in-debt

ATO - financial hardship support

The ATO offers a range of options and services for small businesses facing financial difficulties.

ato.gov.au/General/Financial-hardship/Businesses-with-serious-financial-hardship/Businesses-with-financial-difficulties/

Australian Government payments to support businesses

There are several Australian Government payments that support businesses and employers in particular sectors to deliver services.

humanservices.gov.au/organisations/business/payments-businesses

ASIC's MoneySmart

Financial guidance on managing debt, including support options available.

moneysmart.gov.au/managing-your-money/managing-debts

Financial counselling

National Debt Helpline

Free financial counselling, funded by the Australian Government.

Call now: 1-800-007-007

ndh.org.au/

Financial Counselling Australia

Assistance in finding free financial counselling as well as other resources.

financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au/Corporate/Find-a-Counsellor

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