We can’t deny that money gives us a wide range of emotions. We are happy and relieved when we receive our payments. We are excited if we win the lottery. Meanwhile, we will undoubtedly feel stressed and fearful if economic fluctuations occur.
This article will mainly go over the mild level of money fears that can be prevalent in daily life. On the other hand, chrometophobia (also known as Chrematophobia), or the extreme fear of money, is relatively rare. Chrometophobia makes it extremely difficult for people to spend money, even for necessities. Similarly, people with chrometophobia can feel terrified of being around a large amount of money or even thinking about it.
Suppose you are experiencing money fears to the point that it becomes a life obstacle (e.g. avoiding paying bills or spending on necessities). In that case, we recommend you seek professional help to alleviate your concerns.
5 Common Fears About Money and How to Overcome Them
1. Fear of Losing Money
People can lose money for far too many reasons. Losing a bet and gambling are a few examples. But the ones we can’t control, such as fraud, are often more concerning. We must always be on the lookout for fraud. However, this constant fear of losing money should be manageable.
Types of financial frauds to be aware of:
We are taught to be aware of fake emails from people impersonating banks or financial institutions. However, the scam could be more than just a simple email. The phishing site may be embedded in a downloadable, as warned by Microsoft Ignite. Cybercriminals also take advantage of human sympathy by disguising themselves as non-profit organisations. For instance, in Q1 of 2022 in the United Kingdom alone, there were 196 reports of Russian-Ukrainian fundraising frauds.
Lately, these fraudulent practices are gradually targeting professional sites. The Brand Phishing Report from Check Point Research announced that more than half (52%) of phishing attacks globally were related to LinkedIn sites.
The scammers will trick the phone receivers into withdrawing money from their accounts by claiming that they are services or financial institutions. Even in this era where the internet has become common, these fraudulent activities still do not cease to exist.
For instance, in Thailand, police officers must make phone fraud a significant issue. Many people who live in Thailand reported receiving the same phone fraud daily this year. Most of those calls claim to be from police officers or creditors.
How to avoid scams:
- Be aware of signs of spam, such as poor grammar, overly formal language, and misspellings in organisations’ names.
- Don’t give personal information to organisations or people without checking.
- Set your password with a less simple and predictable pattern.
2. Fear of Not Having Enough Money
What if I don’t have enough money for retirement? What if I can’t afford to buy a car before I’m 30?
Though we should be cautious of our financial plans, there could be other emotional reasons rather than logical ones why we feel our money is insufficient.
One way we can control this fear is to ensure that we have ample savings for retirement.
Still, making a financial plan is not always a fixed formula. Many people don’t even know where to begin. For a starter, you may distribute a tiny portion of your income to your retirement savings. Then you can contribute a higher percentage as you gain more income. Furthermore, if you feel overwhelmed and unsure where to start, you can check this list out before you start your plan.
Checklist for the retirement plan:
The first step of making any plan is to define your goal and where you are right now. Ask yourself when you want to retire, what kind of lifestyle you want, and what you have right now. In this way, you will have more clues on how much money you want to save or what kind of investment you want to make.
A retirement plan should not only include only your fixed income or your savings. Stocks, bonds, and investments are some alternatives for you to benefit from inflation.
Brian Walsh, a Senior Manager of Financial Planning, suggested in a Forbes retirement article that, as you grow older, you spend less on entertainment and more on health. Therefore, you should check the requirements you need for your health insurance. Apart from that, do not forget to consider how life insurance, homeowner insurance, and auto insurance are mandatory for your lifestyle.
One crucial aspect that makes retirees feel secure is their residence. Thinking beforehand if you should downsize your residence, relocate, or stay at the same place when you enter retirement is essential.
While saving for the future, don’t neglect your current financial well-being. You need to set aside some income for unexpected medical expenses or in case of unemployment. It is suggested to contribute little by little until you have saved enough to live without sources of income for at least 3 months.
3. Fear of Spending Money
This fear might be extended from the fear of not having enough money. Many people feel guilt after buying expensive and unnecessary products, which is very understandable. Still, there are people who don’t want to spend a penny, even for a cheap and necessary object.
One of the causes for someone’s fear of spending money may be imprinted since childhood. Research on adverse childhood experiences in 2021 explained that a traumatic experience as a child (under 18 years old) is one of the factors relating to financial insecurities in adults. Moreover, witnessing your parents struggle as a child can shape your coping mechanisms, manifesting as underspending or oversaving. In extreme cases, a person’s financial trauma could lead them to avoid having a relationship since they worry that a relationship will lead to more financial obligations.
One way to overcome this fear is to have a solid financial plan. Remind yourself that if your spending and saving are according to your plan, that purchase is not a waste. Self-reward could benefit your mental health from time to time, and it can motivate you to keep going with your plan.
What to remind yourself when the anxiety is creeping over you:
- Your value cannot be determined by how much you spend. There is so much more in life aside from money, like your character and your actions.
- Spending is not equivalent to wasting. We exchange money for experiences. With that experience, you may find happiness or new perspectives on life. Most of the time, you can make more meaningful connections with those who have tried similar experiences with you.
- Make a reality check. Is that purchase really a waste? Are you really going over your budget? If your answer is no, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you deserve good things in life.
However, suppose the fear is so extreme that it prevents you from buying necessities or paying bills, it is best to talk with mental health professionals as you may have chrometophobia or other conditions.
4. Fear of Making Mistakes in Financial Plans
No matter how much preparation a person makes, something unexpected always happens. So, before discussing this type of fear, we should be reminded that mistakes are expected. After being aware of the mistakes, the best thing a person can do is to investigate how the error can be fixed.
In case you are too afraid to face mistakes in your plan, one way to make yourself feel less anxious is first to figure out the cause of your anxiety. Is it because the process reminds you of the debt you have? Is it because it makes you feel uneasy? It is understandable that it is hard to fight that fear in one night. You can break your plan down into smaller steps so it won’t overwhelm you. Then you start little by little. Ultimately, not having a plan is a mistake in itself, and it could hurt you in the long run.
Also, you are not the only person who doesn’t feel confident in making financial decisions. Chiefly, the recent pandemic has caused uncertainty for many people. Up to 42% of the world population reported feeling less confident about their finances due to the pandemic.
How to learn about finance?
The best remedy is to invest time in financial literacy. Parents and schools should promote financial literacy for children early on. You can explore more reasons why kids should learn about money in our blog here.
For those who have already graduated from schools and universities or seek to do self-study, you can start small by reading financial tips online or watching videos made by professionals. After grasping the basics, the next step is to read more extensive content like articles or books and implement your knowledge. Another smart option is to contact a financial advisor to discuss your unique conditions.
5. Just Talking About Money is Scary Enough
In a society where financial topics are sometimes taboo, talking about money tends to feel disturbing. However, this should not be the case in a family as parents must initiate financial conversations with their kids to develop comprehension of money. Likewise, partners should discuss their financial wellness together to maintain or improve their economic status.
Financial topics to discuss within the family:
Past Financial Difficulties and Achievements
Both positive and negative stories can teach your family members how to be aware and respond to challenging situations. For instance, you may tell a kid about how you planned to pay out your debts in the past as one of their financial lessons.
Current Financial Situation
Talking about debts is not a talk of shame. Though your family members are not responsible for your debt, they can assist you in making plans. More importantly, you will have people who understand you and are ready to encourage you when you feel discouraged by your current situation.
Alternatively, the talk could even be about the money stress you have right now. You might not seek guidance. Nonetheless, the acknowledgement that you are not alone will help you cope better.
Future Financial Goal
You can discuss various topics, like a plan to buy a house with your household or discussing a future budgeting plan with your children. Especially if you have a spouse, talking about retirement plans together is essential as you expect to live and retire together.
You need to open up, but forcing is not the best approach. One suggested way is to start talking to your most trusted ones to familiarise yourself with the subject matter. If you are uncomfortable with opening up on a personal level, you may begin by consulting with financial advisors or mental health professionals who are not personally related to you.
A Quick Summary of How to Feel More Comfortable About Money
- Define your financial goal and needs
- Make a plan for retirement and emergency funds
- Take small steps - don’t forget your short-term goals
- Acquire financial literacy
- Discuss with financial advisors or psychologists
Money fear is normal. It even serves as a warning that we should be prepared for financial difficulties. Rather than being debilitated by the situation, acknowledging your fear and learning how to deal with it will lead to steady growth in financial wellness.