Your Mission Should You Choose toaccept it ... is to Get Financially Fit!

Financial Fears

Fear has been described in the acronym False Evidence Appearing Real, indicating that very often the thing you fear is not factual, but just based on some perception in your mind. Sometimes you may even be embarrassed about some of the strange thoughts that secretly cause you to be fearful.

Fears about money can leave you feeling vaguely uncomfortable about your finances, intensely anxious about your future prospects, or send you into full-blown panic mode. Even if your fears may be irrational they can cripple you mentally and physically and prevent you from actualising your goals.

Many financial anxieties may stem from your concerns about losing something important that money can provide, while certain types of financial mistakes can be serious enough to warrant extreme distress. Let’s look at some common financial fears and simple strategies which can help you to deal with them.

Loss of ability to pay bills
A basic fear for many people is that they won’t have enough income to cover their expenses every month. With high inflation and frequent job losses, this is a real possibility in Jamaica today, and you may be agitated when you have to resort to taking on loans and using credit cards to survive.

Apart from adjusting your budget to lower your costs, you also have to address this fear by learning how to generate extra money in addition to your major source of income. Tap into your talents and be bold about offering a product or service for sale that can add value to other people’s lives.

Loss of status
For some people, money is a symbol of power which denotes their value. If you believe that your societal standing is influenced by outward frills such as the brand of your clothes or the car you drive, then you may be fearful that you will not be respected by your peers if you don’t have these items.

Understand that true financial worth is not measured in frivolous trinkets that don’t create wealth. Many of the richest persons in the world live simple lives and are not tempted by extravagances. Focus on using your income to invest in assets that can generate income instead of following the crowd.

Loss of capacity to earn
One of the most frightening money fears is that some negative event could occur that may render you incapable of working or earning a living. What would happen to all your financial plans if you had an accident that impeded you physically, or if you suffered a debilitating medical emergency?

Don’t let the possibility that you could become incapacitated keep you up at nights. Save as much as possible in an emergency fund, and ensure that you have major medical insurance coverage as well as critical health insurance that will provide a lump sum to treat serious illnesses such as cancer.

Loss of wealth
If you have worked hard to acquire some of the finer things of life, then it’s understandable if you feel fearful that some type of misfortune could deplete your wealth. It’s not enough to be smart about managing your money and increasing your earnings, you also have to be savvy about keeping it intact.

Learn how to protect your assets by understanding the risks involved in different investments, and get professional guidance to create a portfolio that can withstand shocks in the financial markets. Also, protect physical property with insurance that can replace its value if you experience theft or disaster.

Loss of future independence
A colleague once told me that she was afraid that when she got old, she would be forced to beg in front of business places in order to survive. She always observed an elderly lady sitting outside of her bank, and she was worried that she might suffer the same fate if she didn’t get her finances organised.

Losing your ability to take care of yourself when you get old is a real and present danger. You have to redirect some of your current income into saving and investing, and create assets that can supply you with money when you choose to stop working. A realistic retirement plan is a must to defeat this fear.

Action plan to alleviate fears
If you are feeling fearful, here are four steps to overcome the effects of worrying about your finances:
1. Identify the root cause of your fear
2. Consider the likelihood of the negative event happening
3. Find strategies to mitigate the negative event
4. Focus on your goals, not on the things you fear.

Once you have created a game plan to address the issues that are of concern to you, immediately begin to implement corrective measures. If you know that you are doing your best to improve your financial position, then stop worrying about the problem and look forward instead to a brighter future.