Even though I write a lot about personal finance here and elsewhere, I still have a lot of my own fears about personal finance.
I think this is actually a pretty normal thing for most people. We all have areas where we’re less than confident and we all have areas that concern us about the future. Fortunately for me, I was born an optimist—I face life positively and so my fears easily dissolve.
I am not propagating that you should not worry about the future of your finances. I do realise how easy it is to push fears aside and just not worry about them. We could tell ourselves, “I will think about that later,” and then when it comes up again, tell ourselves the same thing again, until it’s sat around for years, untouched. This can really be dangerous.
What can a person do to step up to the plate and tackle our financial fears? The obvious “just do it!” tactic is nice, but it doesn’t really work here—if it were that simple, we would already have faced the fear and moved on with life, wouldn’t we?
To begin with, one big fear for our finance future is fear of the unknown. Quite often, a lack of knowledge will make someone afraid of something else; we can all think of examples of this in life, where ignorance makes people afraid. Don’t succumb to it.
If you are afraid of something because you don’t know about it, investigate it. Hit the library or visit Wikipedia or ask expert friends to find out more. Dig-in, a piece at a time, until you understand the topic and the fear of it is lifted. This could include life after retirement, how to start your own business, investment vehicles like shares and treasury bills, writing of wills, managing debt, etc.
If some financial aspect makes you so uncomfortable to face your future, put forth the effort to talk to others about it. Find someone you trust deeply, preferably someone with some experience in the area in question, and just ask questions. But don’t take their personal finance management advice wholesome instead take time to check the viability of their advice.
One alternative to having a conversation, especially if the fear is related to an important decision, is to simply write out all of the pros and cons related to that decision. For example, quitting your job and running own business full time will have its pros and cons.
Writing your pro and cons would really help because the significance of the cons will guide your way of thinking so as to maximise on the powerful “pros.” Never at any stage ignore the ‘cons’, because once you start ignoring them, it’s easy to just let something very important slide by until it’s too late.
Once you’ve made up your mind that you are going to delve into the area you once feared, get started with a first little baby step. Take a little action that moves you in the right direction, and feel the relief that comes with wiping away your fear.
Then, take another little step, and another. Soon, you’ll be well on your way to completely eliminating the challenge that brought you so much fear to begin with. And it will feel really good to be winning in your finance ladder climb.
Have a blessed week end as you navigate your financial fears.