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5 Common Money Fears & How to Get Over Them

What are your money fears? I’m not necessarily talking about identity theft or an enormous, unexpected medical bill. I’m talking about the this-is-keeping-me-from-investing money fears. Or I-have-$47,000-in-a-checking-account-for-no-good-reason money fears. We’ve all got ‘em! And we’d all benefit from moving past them so we can optimize our finances and achieve financial bliss. After working with thousands of clients, I’ve seen the same money fears rear their ugly heads over and over. And I’ve helped many of those same clients move past those fears! I did much deeper into this in episode three of my podcast! But for a preview, here are some thoughts on the top 5 fears I see coming up when working with clients on optimizing their finances. Those fears are judgement, failure, regret, loss and disappointing others.

How to get over your fear of judgement when it comes to your money

First of all, will people really judge you if you do that thing with your money you really want to do? Whether it’s taking that trip or buying that place or quitting that job without a back-up plan because you know you can support yourself for at least six months - will anyone really judge you? And if they do, are they people you want to have that kind of access to your life?

How to get over the fear of financial failure

Is failure really the absolute worst thing in the world, the thing to be avoided at all costs? Think about all those motivational quotes you see about failure. Like Oprah, who is credited with saying: “Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.”

Or Brene Brown, who said “There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.”

Or from The Alchemist, one of the most important books I’ve ever read, “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

How to get over your fear of financial regrets

Which is worse, the regret or the fear of it? Many years ago - like back in 2000 - there was this restaurant in downtown Cincinnati called Palomino where everyone went if they wanted a higher end lunch. And at the end of the meal, when they gave you your bill, rather than including mints, they included these little cards with quotes in them, kind of like fortune cookies. I still keep one in my medicine cabinet, where I see it every day: it says, “I’d rather be sorry for something I did than for something I didn’t do.”

Reflecting on this idea has propelled me so many times to make the braver choice, to try the thing, to risk a regret because I’d never know for sure unless I tried. Which is why I also keep a magnet in my office that says, “Ever notice that ‘What the hell!’ is always the right decision?”

How to get over your fear of financial loss

This is where I find a little education can be helpful. One of the challenges that women in particular have around our money is that we don’t like to do anything with it that we don’t completely, 100%, absolutely, no doubt understand. Which, when it comes to things like choosing what type of account to open and invest in, can be a barrier causing literally years of delay in enjoying the advantages of, say, growing a Roth IRA. Often, our fear of financial loss comes from overheard childhood conversations about someone “losing everything” in the stock market or maybe a trusted adult once told you that “investing is gambling.”

Maybe you’ve legitimately lost money by investing in the market.

Now, quick disclaimer, this is NOT investing advice, because everyone’s situation is different, and there are ways people can lose all their money by making unwise market investments. But there are also lots of ways to invest in the market and not be at risk of total loss. Personally, I’m what you’d call an index investor, which means that when I put money in the market, I’m investing it in index funds. I’m basically buying a little bit of everything that’s on the market for the index I’ve chosen. Like, if I choose a Total Stock Market Index Fund, like JL Collins discusses in his book “The Simple Path to Wealth,” I’m essentially buying a little piece of every company in the U.S. that has stock on the stock market.

In order for me to lose all that money, every single public company in the U.S. would have to go out of business, including companies like Amazon, Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, and even UnitedHealthcare and Duke Energy. If that’s the case, then I’m probably too busy hunkering down in a bomb shelter to be too concerned with my stock portfolio. So while the fear of loss is legit when it comes to making money moves, there are ways to mitigate that. Unless you’re a total prepper who actually thinks a complete economic meltdown is on the horizon. Obviously, I don’t think that. I am a Sagittarius, after all.

How to get over your fear of disappointing others

I want to share a snippet from a poem that I read in my senior year of college, from a class I took called Intimate Relationships. It ended up being one of the most important classes I ever took, even as an accounting major. The poem is called The Invitation, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer and if you’ve never read it before, I strongly recommend looking it up in its entirety.

It starts off by saying “It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.” Then continues into an entire page of similar statements. The one that I come back to most often is this:

I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself.

When you’re making a decision, whether it’s with your money or your life in general, and your guiding principle is to avoid disappointing anyone, is that really living? And truly, if you were to make the decision that’s most true to you, would anyone who truly loves you and wants what’s best for you ACTUALLY be disappointed?

When fear - these false emotions appearing real - is in charge, we are doing ourselves a huge disservice. Freedom is on the other side of fear. We need to learn how to push past our fear, and then keep it at bay, if we want to find our own financial bliss. Want to learn more? Listen to my podcast episode on money fears here, or book a coaching call with me here!


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