Money brings up all kinds of emotions within us. But the one that is more or less constant throughout and among many people is ‘Fear’. We fear to talk about it, earn too much, earn too less etc. Fear is deeply seated in our genetic drive to survive – this cannot be speedily wiped away with facts and figures.
We as a financial planner understand that – also how these emotions influence our financial decisions. In the beginning of financial planning process, we do few exercises with our clients to understand these emotions & stories behind these emotions – our punch line says “understanding people before numbers”.
Bill Bachrach started his famous book ‘Values-Based Financial Planning’ with these lines “In the grand schemes of things, money’s not that important. It’s significant only to the extent that it allows you to enjoy what is important to you. And not worrying about your finance is critical to having a life that excites you, nurture those you love and fulfills your highest aspirations.” But fear holds you back – let us see what the 6 Most Common Money Fears are and how we can overcome them and live a contented stress free life.
6 Money Fears & how to overcome
1) I will lose all my money
We work hard to earn money and always want to save more and earn more. Many of us lose money too due to a bad investment, wrong decision or inflation. But this is something we are forever scared of and always have nightmares of investments going wrong or getting cheated of our money. We are scared to take money decisions as we are scared that the decision will make us lose all our money.
Instead of having irrational fears, it is better to take small steps towards managing money. We can take the help of professionals to invest our money. This way, we will be more confident of our decisions and not make big mistakes/losses.
2) I will lose my job
Companies are very competitive and always look for ways to increase profits and reduce costs. One way to reduce costs is to ask employees to leave the company. During recession and tough times, they might lay off people. We cannot be constantly scared of this as this might make us anxious and affect work performance negatively.
Instead of being worried about getting laid off, it is best to work efficiently. It is important to blend in the culture of the organization that one is working in. It is important to take up new responsibilities, additional responsibilities and also upgrade one’s skills so that in case of extreme situations, one can get a new job or a different role in the organization. Building emergency fund can also add some confidence.
3) I will never have enough money
We are always worried if we will outlive our wealth. We feel we will never have enough money considering increased life expectancy and medical emergencies of old age. But this is again irrational.
We should make a financial plan in which we set up the retirement goals. The retirement goals should be such that we know how much money we need to sustain the lifestyle that we need and other goals that we might like to achieve when we retire. We should then work on executing the financial plan so that we have enough money. The financial plan should be reviewed regularly and tweaked if necessary.
4) I will make mistakes while managing my money
We work hard to earn money and therefore are very scared to lose it. We let the money lie idle in the savings bank account thinking that we might make bad investment decisions which will lead us to lose money.
Instead of worrying like this, we should take steps to increase our financial and investment knowledge. We should take small steps in investment. We should start off with zero or low risk investments and then graduate to more risky (volatile) investments. At the same time, our investments should march our risk taking ability from an emotional and financial perspective. We can also take help of financial planners to make a financial plan and work with them to ensure that we do mis-manage our money. Even if we make mistakes, instead of feeling sorry for oneself and blaming oneself, we should try to understand what happened and how it happened and what learning can one get from such an experience.
5) My online financial identity will get stolen
Today we do a lot of money based transactions online. We use credit cards often. This leads to the fear of getting our accounts hacked or credit cards duplicated. This is not irrational as the number of cyber crime cases are increasing but we can take steps to secure our online financial life.
We should not share usernames and passwords of online accounts with others. We should monitor financial statements regularly so that if a fraud is committed, we can act quickly. We should update our contact numbers and address with the bank and not click on suspicious links. We can control the security of our online financial transactions.
6) I am scared of talking about money
We are superstitious when it comes to money. We also don’t think rationally many times when it comes to money. We feel we will lose money if we talk about how much we have. We feel others have too much or too less compared to us and don’t want to talk about it. We feel ashamed to talk about bad investment choices.
But it is important to talk about money with people whom we can trust. Married couples should talk about money, money habits and money choices so that both are aware of how much money is there and how much is needed and what can be done to improve the finances. You can take advice from your parents about managing money as they may have gone through situations that you are facing at different stages of life. It is important to have frank and open discussions with your financial planner as only then can you both make and work on a financial plan that is realistic and allows you to achieve your financial objectives. (Start Budgeting & I can guarantee you will have meaningful financial discussions with your spouse)
Fear is a strong emotion and too much of it can hurt your frame of mind. It is important to think about money and be aware of various possibilities that can happen to our finances but instead of being scared about them, one should plan the finances and take the right steps to be financially secure.
Let us know what are your main concerns regarding money and what steps you are taking to overcome them.