The Super Bowl Ad We Loved the Most Also Scared Us Half to Death

financial stress
Elena Yakusheva/Shutterstock

Our nerdy hearts are all aflutter this morning in the personal finance sphere.


We heard someone talking about finance in a Super Bowl ad!

(Told you it was nerdy.)

The “Hold Your Breath” commerical invited viewers to, yes, hold their breath.

It compared the panic you feel after a few seconds without air to the out-of-control feeling of financial stress.

And it’s not very far off.

Why Are We Talking About Financial Stress During the Super Bowl?

But why, in the midst of football, beer, Skittles, cologne and cars, are we talking about financial stress?

Because we’re all feeling it.

And a lot of us don’t understand why, what to do about it — or how to talk about it.

Even when you’re doing smart things like budgeting, saving and investing, it’s easy to have the lingering feeling that you have no idea what’s happening with your money.

You know it’s important to save for major purchases, have a retirement and emergency fund, — but how much do you think about any of this each day?

You probably don’t (I know I don’t).

You probably don’t think a lot about the big picture of your finances — because it’s complicated.

Compound interest, mutual funds, investment portfolio… am I losing you? Most of the systems created to manage and grow our money are too complicated for us to understand — by design.

So you open a 401(k) at your HR rep’s direction, then forget about it. Or you give a broker $500 to invest and just wait for whatever happens.

Then you read headlines about plunging stocks. Market volatility. Financial turmoil.

It’s scary.

That’s why we’re talking about financial stress during the Super Bowl.

How to Relieve Your Financial Stress

Understanding your finances is the first step to gaining control of them.

When you see headlines suggesting your money or our entire economy are at risk, the question you have to ask is, “What does that mean for me?”

The stock market’s effect on your money — and, more accurately, your plans for your money — is determined by how risky your investments are. To determine how risky these should be, you need to know your “risk tolerance.”

We’ve got a whole post about what risk tolerance is and how to find yours here — but here’s the gist:

Your risk tolerance is how much you’re willing to let the value of your invested money vary.

Knowing your risk tolerance is the starting point to smartly investing your money — whether you’re trading stocks hands-on or just want to make sure your 401(k) is going to have you covered for retirement.

How to Determine Your Risk Tolerance

Our fellow personal finance nerds at FinMason have developed a tool that helps you determine your risk tolerance, or your “FinScore.”

Once you know your FinScore, FinMason offers additional tools and information to help you see how your investments stack up and compares them to where your FinScore says they should be.

Is your money invested in stocks that fluctuate too much to  ensure you’ll have the money you’ll need when you need it?

Or, is it invested in a portfolio that doesn’t grow fast enough to give you the amount you need to retire?

To learn the answers, use this handy tool to find your FinScore.


(Got questions? We’ve got a full walkthrough of the tool here.)

Your Turn: Have you been feeling the financial stress in our country lately? Does learning your risk tolerance help you feel relieved?

Sponsorship Disclosure: A huge thanks to FinMason for working with us to bring you this content. It’s rare that we have the opportunity to share something so awesome and get paid for it!

Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post,, Writer’s Digest and more.

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