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How not to stress about money

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Moyo Studio | E+ | Getty Images

Anxiety over money is so common in the U.K. that a quarter (23%) of adults say they suffer from mental health issues as a result of worrying about their finances, according to one poll published on World Mental Health day on Thursday.

Four out of five (79%) U.K. adults say they are worried about money, with a third (35%) complaining that financial anxiety weighed on their minds on a daily basis. In fact, 32% said it kept them up at night, according to the poll of 2,000 U.K. adults by mobile bank N26.

However, there are small steps that can be taken to improve financial wellbeing.

From paying off debt to saving for a house, wedding or even a holiday, keeping on top of finances can seem like an overwhelming task. CNBC spoke to the experts for tips on easing the day-to-day stress of managing money.

Start saving

It may seem obvious but starting to save even a small amount of money can create a cushion when those inevitable unexpected costs come along, says Vishal Jain, CEO of financial wellbeing platform FairQuid.

“If you need savings to be something that will happen in the perfect world, when there are no expenses or demands on your income, then that never tends to happen,” he told CNBC. “Life keeps throwing you curveballs.”

He argues that prioritizing putting some money aside for a rainy day can also prevent falling back into a debt longer-term, even if it means it takes a couple more months to pay it off.

To get started, Jain advises setting up a standing order to a separate account on payday before it starts fighting with other demands on your money. To avoid the temptation of dipping into savings, he suggests making it more difficult to access the funds, unless in an emergency, by cutting up the account’s debit card, for example.

Checking if employers offer savings clubs or payroll savings programs as part of their benefits, is another option.

Setting clear objectives, as well as tracking income and expenses, can help with this process, Jane Goodland, corporate affairs director at financial services firm Quilter.

“A driver of anxiety is this sense of a lack of control and a lack of control is driven by a lack of understanding,” she says.

Ask the stupid questions

Similarly, building up knowledge of financial products you currently use, or will use in the future, is another way to regain a sense of control, says Martha Lawton, creator and host of money podcast Squanderlust.

“Don’t be afraid to ask the dumb questions when it comes to money,” she says.

It is the responsibility of companies selling financial products to explain technical terms clearly, Lawton points out.

“If you are speaking to a financial advisor or someone in a bank or another financial provider and they do start to patronize you, or condescend, or can’t explain without using jargon, then that’s a bad sign and you should question if you want to be involved with that business,” she tells Make It.

Talk to someone

Paying off sometimes large debts can seem daunting and was the main concern for a fifth (19%) of 2,000 U.K. adults surveyed on the impact of money on their mental health by bank TSB last week.

Talking to family, friends, or an employer can alleviate this anxiety, says Anthony Morrow, CEO of online financial advice service OpenMoney.

Speaking to an employer is really important, he says, particularly if money worries are affecting your ability to do a job effectively. Even approaching the company you owe money to can help, he says.

“Anyone who owes money to a regulated entity, which most lenders are now, [these companies] have an obligation to look at these things a lot more sympathetically than they have done in recent years,” he points out.

But the trick is to have this conversation early, Morrow adds.

Dealing with debt head-on and being honest about your situation is a must, says Goodland.

“Don’t ignore it or put your head in the sand,” she says. “That debt is not going to go away on its own, it needs to be actively managed.”

Reassess unhealthy relationships

Two-fifths (41%) of those questioned by TSB said not being able to afford the lifestyle they want was their top money worry.

Lawton cautions against caving into pressure created by certain work or social groups, and reassessing relationships that could be detrimental to your money and wellbeing.

“I’ve seen people get into a lot of trouble actually trying to keep up a lifestyle their work is promoting, with work socializing and that can be really destructive because it feels like your career is tied into an unhealthy spending pattern,” she says.

Research by jobs website Totaljobs discovered that the average worker in the U.K. forks out £500 of their own money a year on work-related drinking, adding up to more than £25,000 over the course of their career.

Being selective with work socials can curb costs, she says and if this is not possible, then it might be time to consider if your workplace is really a healthy environment.

The same mantra should be applied to your social circle and friends – and if they are in the same boat they might actually be happy for you to suggest doing more reasonably priced activities, says Lawton.

“The people who care about you will not want you to damage your finances for the sake of hanging out with them,” she comments.

Be realistic about your financial goals

Lawton says thinking of money in absolute terms can be restrictive and ultimately demotivating, so it’s important to accept there is no “silver bullet” to all your financial worries and be realistic about with your goals.

“Tempering your ups so you don’t fall as far with the downs is a really good idea,” she says, while overly strict budgets are unsustainable long-term and leave “no money for any kind of fun.”

Morrow agrees setting an unachievable budget can have a “compounding effect on stress.” Quilter’s Goodland suggests building in rewards to incentivize reaching financial goals.

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U.S. death toll rises above 100,000 in world’s deadliest outbreak

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Chicago Firefighters carry the remains of Firefighter Edward Singleton, a 33 year veteran of the Chicago Fire Department who died last week from complications from coronavirus disease (COVID-19), to a hearse following his funeral service in Chicago, Illinois, April 22, 2020.

Shannon Stapleton | Reuters

The U.S. has surpassed the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths as a result of the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, significantly more than any other country in the world.

A tally from Johns Hopkins University showed 100,047 deaths as of Wednesday evening.

More than 5.6 million people have contracted the coronavirus across the globe, with the U.S. accounting for roughly 30% of total cases. 

The U.K. has recorded the second-highest number of coronavirus fatalities, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. As of Wednesday, it had reported at least 37,542 deaths due to Covid-19. 

Brazil and Russia are second and third, respectively, when it comes to the number of Covid-19 infections confirmed to date. South America’s largest country has reported 391,222 cases of the virus, while Russia has recorded 370,680 infections. 

President Donald Trump, who is running for re-election later this year, has encouraged state governors to reopen businesses in order to boost the pandemic-stricken economy. 

In the first three months of the year, U.S. GDP (growth domestic product) fell by 4.8%. It marked the biggest quarterly economic contraction since the global financial crisis in 2008.

Meanwhile, the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Labour showed that some 38.6 million people in the world’s largest economy had lost their jobs in just nine weeks.

The rate of job losses has slowed sharply in recent weeks, but it remains at a level unseen since the Great Depression

Almost all states in the country have started to ease lockdown restrictions in recent days.

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Boeing resumes production of beleaguered 737 Max

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Employees work on Boeing 737 MAX airplanes at the Boeing Renton Factory in Renton, Washington on March 27, 2019.

Jason Redmond | AFP | Getty Images

Boeing has resumed production of its beleaguered 737 Max planes, the company said Wednesday. 

Boeing halted production of the jetliners in January as a worldwide grounding of the planes dragged on longer than expected. Airlines have been prohibited from flying the jets since March 2019 after the second of two fatal crashes that together killed 346 people.

While expected, the restart of 737 Max production is a milestone for Boeing. The company halted deliveries of the planes shortly after the second crash and has been logging a surge in cancellations from customers this year as the coronavirus pandemic adds to Boeing’s struggles. It continued producing the planes until it suspended output in January. Meanwhile, hundreds of them had piled up in storage facilities around the U.S.

The recertification process for the jets was beset with delays as new problems cropped up and tasks took longer than expected. Boeing declined to comment on whether the FAA was close to certifying the planes as safe to fly again.

“Work on the project continues, as does our steadfast refusal to speculate on a timeframe for completing it,” the FAA said in a statement.

Airlines were clamoring for the new fuel-efficient planes last year to help cater to strong travel demand. But this year they have the opposite problem: too many planes and not enough passengers as the virus and measures to stop it from spreading keep would-be customers close to home.

Boeing is now scrambling to cut costs as it faces dismal demand for new planes. Earlier Wednesday, CEO Dave Calhoun said the company is laying off close to 7,000 employees this week, just the first group of reductions as it seeks to slash its staff of 160,000 by 10%.

Production of the 737 Max will start at a low rate and gradually build up, an approach Boeing executives had previously detailed.

Shares of Boeing were up more than 4% in after-hours trading.

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House sends China sanctions bill to Trump’s desk as tensions escalate

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People buy food under Chinese national flags in the Old City in Kashgar in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China.

Thomas Peter | Reuters

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed legislation calling for sanctions against Chinese officials for the detention and torture of Uighur Muslims in the country’s western region of Xinjiang as tensions between the U.S. and China continue to escalate. 

The legislation, which passed overwhelmingly in the Senate earlier this month, will now head to President Donald Trump, who has not said whether he intends to sign it into law. 

The vote was the first to take place under temporary rules established this month to allow representatives to cast their ballots by proxy, as a precaution against the spreading coronavirus. Republicans have brought a suit against Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi challenging proxy voting as unconstitutional. 

The vote comes just hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo targeted Beijing over its efforts to tamp down on dissent in Hong Kong, announcing that the State Department no longer viewed Hong Kong as autonomous and reiterating U.S. support for anti-government protesters there. 

China has warned that it will retaliate against any sanctions imposed and denies the allegations of abuse inside its reeducation camps, which are believed to house as many as a million Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and members of other minority groups. 

The bill passed on Wednesday would give the president 180 days to put together a list of Chinese officials responsible for abuses. Those officials would then face sanctions, though Trump could exempt certain individuals if he claims that the exemption is in the national interest. 

The legislation resembles a measure that passed the House 407-1 last year. It cites several Chinese officials by name, including Chen Quanguo, the official responsible for overseeing the camps, and Zhu Hailun, who has been labeled “Xinjiang’s architect of mass detention.

The human rights legislation comes as the U.S.-China relationship face strains on several other fronts.

Earlier Wednesday, Pompeo declared that the U.S. no longer viewed Hong Kong as autonomous from the rest of China, following Beijing’s push to pass new national security legislation in the former British colony. 

Protesters in the special administrative region have pushed back against Beijing’s encroachments for months in uprisings that have been met with harsh police crackdowns. The U.S.-China trade war combined with the protests sent Hong Kong into a recession last year. 

Under a law passed last year, the State Department designation could open up Chinese officials to new U.S. sanctions. It could also jeopardize the trade relationship between the U.S. and Hong Kong, a major business hub that is home to hundreds of U.S. businesses. 

For months, the U.S. and China have also sparred over culpability for the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in Wuhan, China, last year. Officials in both countries have sought to blame each other for the spread of the deadly virus. 

While Trump has criticized China for its handling of Covid-19, his relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping has been mixed. After years of negotiations and a multiyear trade war, the two men clinched a “phase one” trade deal earlier this year, with plans to address more disagreements between the two countries in future phases. 

Trump, who will face voters again in less than six months, has touted the agreement as one of the signature policy accomplishments of his term. 

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