Spooked by your finances? How to overcome money fears.
If the thought of checking your account balance, opening credit card bills or balancing a budget leaves you feeling frightful, you’re not alone. Worrying about money is a top cause of anxiety in the U.S.1 There’s even a scary sounding name for it: Chrometophobia.
Why are many people haunted by their finances?
Lisa May, senior vice president, financial advisor at Commerce Brokerage Services, Inc., explains that a lack of understanding is the most common reason people dread dealing with money. “Many people are afraid to admit that they don’t have the knowledge, don’t know who to ask or even where to start, and that can feel overwhelming,” she explains.
Worries about running out of money, feeling overwhelmed by debt or feeling intimidated by financial planning are other common reasons people fear their finances. “They may not want to admit that they’re overspending or not saving enough and may resist asking others for help because they are embarrassed,” she adds.
“In addition to not talking about money with others, people who find finances terrifying may leave all their money in a bank account when they could be investing it, or may not spend money because they’re afraid of running out of it,” adds May.
What happens when you don’t face your money fears?
“The biggest consequence is not being prepared for your future, especially for important milestones like retirement or college planning” explains May. “Other consequences are spending more than your income allows and not making your money work for you,” she adds. Ignoring routine financial tasks can also lead to consequences like accumulating late fees, failing to notice unauthorized charges, not knowing where your money goes or not knowing how much you have available to spend in relation to your income.
Fortunately, chrometophobia is curable. The steps below can help you address your money fears and put you back in control so you can feel more confident — and less haunted — about your financial life.
Tips and tricks to help you conquer money fears
Start by looking at where you are today financially. Review your account balances, bills, bank statements, income and expenses so you have an idea of what you earn and what you spend each month. Be sure to congratulate yourself for taking that important first step! Then, one step at a time, create a plan of action that includes the following:
Commit to opening bills and monthly statements as soon as they arrive in the mail or your inbox. Pay them immediately or set up automatic bill pay using Online Banking.
Create or update your budget. “Having a budget can help you identify your expenses as well as what money is coming in and what’s going out,” says May.
Consider if you’ll need to cut costs in certain areas or increase your income to make sure that you have enough money to cover essential expenses like housing, utilities, food and transportation.
Add up all your debts. Create a debt payoff plan for each one so you have an idea of when the balances will be paid off.
Talk openly and honestly with your partner about your money worries. And try to avoid comparing your financial life to others, especially on social media.
Decide on (and write down) your financial goals for both the long-term and short-term. Do you want to save for retirement or a home, invest in the stock market or save for a bucket list vacation?
Build an emergency fund to cover unexpected bills — and give you peace of mind.
Reach out to your bank. May encourages readers to prepare a list of questions. “Whether you want to learn the basics of how checking and savings accounts work, how to budget or even estate planning, call or come into a branch and talk to a banker. A banker can sit down with you, answer your questions and even show you how to use Online Banking tools. There is always someone ready to help you,” she says.
Consider working with a financial planner or financial advisor who can review your overall financial situation and help you plan for and work toward your goals.
Boost your confidence and your financial IQ
“In addition to asking questions, reading and researching money topics to become more knowledgeable is another way to conquer money fears,” says May. Commerce Bank has helpful articles on personal finance topics like budgeting, saving, retirement, homebuying and investing.
Understanding where your money goes and how you can make your money work for you is key to banishing money fears and putting you on a path toward a healthier financial future. Creating a plan to do just that puts you in control of your money, versus the other way around. For help with money questions or to find a financial planner, contact us.
1 “5 Reasons You Worry About Money and How to Stop,” Dani Pascarella, Forbes, posted Jan. 22, 2021, https://www.forbes.com/sites/danipascarella/2021/01/22/5-reasons-you-worry-about-money-and-how-to-stop/?
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