The Fear of Money

By: Sherry Ridge

Financial freedom starts with your thinking. You can balance your checkbook and check your savings but that does not constitute good financial planning. You need to get beyond the fear of money, the fear of not having enough money, the fear of taking action and the fear of not taking action. There isn't one part of our lives that money does not touch. It affects our relationships, the way we go about our every day activities and our ability to make our dreams a reality. To achieve true financial freedom you must get control of the fears you have about money.

Money management can be filled with intimidation and an overwhelming issue. But it does not have to be that way. When attempting to get control of your financial life you need to be honest with yourself on your fears. You need to acknowledge the fears you have and remember what fear means.

F alse
E vidence
A ppearing
R eal

Appearing real, keep that in mind, most people are more afraid of the fear than the actual challenge. Fear can be a good thing, if you look at it as a call to action, action to freeing yourself from financial woes. Most woes we bring on our self, whether intentionally or not. So if we bring them on, then we can also get rid of them. The biggest harm I see fear doing is causing inaction...we do nothing.

Women in our society seem to be more overwhelmed with financial issues; it started when we were little girls. Research indicates that young girls score higher in language skills then in math while young boys score higher in math. Women often recall thinking that, when they were young, "I'm not good with numbers." We carry these negative thoughts over to adulthood and they add to the insecurities women have dealing with finances. Overcoming that thinking needs to be a goal for today.

I don't write this just for women, in my 16 plus years of working with people on their financial issues, I have found that men as well have challenges they impose on themselves stemming from childhood.

While I'm not a psychologist, I do offer some questions that you should pose to yourself that will help you to recognize thinking from your childhood years that holds you back today and I thank the Financial Health for Womenâ„? program through Debt-FREE and Prosperous Living, Inc. for much of this valuable information.

Please note when thinking about these issues if you feel depressed or if you have serious spending problems such as compulsive buying, and you just cannot manage it alone, then a therapist may be an important ally as you try to make changes in your life.

oDid you get an allowance and if so did you have to work for it?
oDid your parents fight about money?
oDid you mom sneak away and buy things?
oDid your friends have nicer clothes than you?
oDid you feel badly about having more than your friends?
oWas shopping for school clothes fun?
oDid you steal from others?
oDid you have money stolen from you?

These are typical questions that are asked when people seek counseling on getting better about their money and their future.

Thinking about these and answering them can help you to better understand the money habits you have today. If you felt that you never had enough, you probably hoard things, your pantry is always stocked and you are always buying in bulk because you just don't want to be in the position of not having enough. If you felt that you had more than enough you could likely be overspending to compensate for feeling badly about what you do have.

Respecting the money you earn, spend, save and invest will serve you well when it comes to living the life you dream of. Our "Financial Health for Women" workshops were great at helping people identify their issues with money; from that workshop I offer you the following exercise to do that will help you to examine your financial health.

?Write down how you are respectful to yourself and money.

?Next write down how you are disrespectful to yourself and money.

Some examples could be:

1.Do you shop to relieve boredom or anxiety?
2.Do you pay your bills late?
3.When you are not satisfied with a purchase you made, do you return it or just throw it in the closet?
4.Do you balance your checkbook?
5.Do you forget to pay personal debts?
6.Do you give to solicitors just because you can't say no?
7.Have you invested in the stock market but never followed up on the investment?

Writing down how you respect and disrespect yourself and your money is the first step in fixing the problem. Once you recognize the harmful patterns in your financial life...you can work to remedy them. The biggest roadblock we all have is the one we impose on ourselves, DENIAL. You can not; you will not fix the harmful habits you have until you acknowledge them.

Freeing yourself from the bondage of debt is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. It is attainable and people around you want to help you through the process. Start today on your journey to freeing yourself from the fear of money.

Handling Fear and Taking Responsibility...below are basic principles about handling fear and taking responsibility...

The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it.

Taking responsibility means that you never blame anyone else for anything you are doing or feeling.

Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes with feeling helpless.

Taking responsibility means that you stop blaming others for the things you are not doing.

Not only will you experience fear whenever you are on unfamiliar territory, but so does everyone else.

Taking responsibility means that you figure out what it is you want to do with/in your life and taking action to achieve it.

Taking responsibility means that YOU stop that destructive tape recording in your mind and change it with affirmations of your self and dreams.

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