Managing your money, much like managing your health, is simple.
But simple isn’t always easy.
I know I should opt for a cup of tea in place of a glass of red wine and a piece of chocolate cake, but sometimes I’m tired or sad or celebratory or one of another zillion states of being and I give into the latter.
Similarly, I know I should spend less than I earn, save for a rainy day and fund my future, but my red wine drinking, chocolate cake eating self isn’t always up for following that “simple” logic.
While there are many aspects of our humanity that make what’s simple a far cry from easy, today I want to address one I find particularly problematic when it comes to managing our personal finances – fear.
In speaking to people about their money, what I find most troubling about the financial fears that surface is not the possibility of those fears coming into being, but rather, the detrimental paralysis those financial fears induce.
Rather than getting proactive and working towards a particularly intimidating financial goal, like saving up for retirement, or overcoming a daunting financial obstacle, like paying off a large consumer debt, financial fears can cause us to disengage before we even begin – letting our consumer debt grow until it consumes us, or our retirement account go unfunded until it’s too late to catch up.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Fear of making the wrong choice may lead to the worst choice of all – doing nothing ” quote=”Fear of making the wrong choice may lead to the worst choice of all – doing nothing “]
Related Reading: How to Stop Procrastinating Your Personal Finances
In order to become proactive and resist the indecision and inaction created through our financial fears I propose we lean into them. (Yeah, I’m getting totally Sheryl Sandberg on you).
Instead of worrying and stewing in our inaction, let’s entertain our financial fears as potential realities to initiate the most important aspect of any financial plan – taking action.
If no fears come to mind immediately, create a list of your greatest financial needs and goals. Then identify the next action step for achieving each.
Ask yourself why you haven’t taken those steps already – or why you’re still not willing to take them now.
As uncertainties, insecurities and fears come up, write them down.
Instead of using your financial fears as an excuse to stop yourself from taking the steps necessary to meet your financial goals, create a course of action by imagining each of those financial fears as part of your reality.
In other words, imagine your financial fears as financial truths and identify how you would move forward in each worst-case scenario.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Imagine your financial fears as truths and identify how you would move forward in each worst-case scenario. ” quote=”Imagine your financial fears as financial truths and identify how you would move forward in each worst-case scenario. “]
Rather than stopping your train of thought at “I’m worried I won’t be able to keep up with the minimum payments on my credit cards” for example, push past the excuse and ask yourself, “okay, so I can’t make the minimum payment on my credit card … SO WHAT NOW?”
For each of your fears or excuses, come up with three to five things you could do or courses of action you could take if your financial fears became your reality.
In the case of being unable to afford the minimum payment on your credit cards example, what are three things you could do?
By imagining your financial fears coming into being and working through what your next steps would be in those situations, you may uncover alternative approaches and solutions you hadn’t previously considered.
Getting in touch with the reality of your financial fears forces you to get creative and find solutions you may have overlooked when you were just sitting around worrying.
By moving from worry to action, you flip your financial fear on its head and move toward achieving your money goals.
[clickToTweet tweet=”By moving from worry to action, you flip your financial fear on its head and move toward achieving your money goals.” quote=”By moving from worry to action, you flip your financial fear on its head and move toward achieving your money goals.”]
Now that’s certainly worth celebrating with red wine and chocolate cake!