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I am certain a great many people would scoff at the idea of having a fear of money. After all, who hasn’t envisioned themselves winning the lottery, rolling around in piles of cash with a laundry list of big-ticket items already in mind for purchase? The reality is our relationship with money can be quite complex. Our perceptions about money can vary depending on so many factors such as upbringing, education, self-confidence, and even common stereotypes. If you’re struggling to reach the next level of financial success, take an honest look at your relationship with money. You may uncover some deep-seated resentment or a limiting belief that could be affecting your financial decisions. Below is a list of common money fears and suggestions on how to overcome them.

Fear of Money from Common Stereotypes

“Rich people are snobby.” “Rich people are greedy.” “Rich people think they’re better than everyone else.”

If you grew up in a family where money was scarce, you may have built up a wall based on these stereotypes to protect yourself from envy. It hardly seems fair that a person can be rich AND a good person. Needing some sense of justice or balance in your world may have led you to accept these stereotypes as truth. Unfortunately, this limited view can thwart your own success. If this is how you feel about people who have money, why would you ever allow yourself to become one of them?

Overcome It:

  • Many people do wonderful, charitable things with the wealth they have built. Read up on a few to change your view!
  • Trust that you can be both a good person and one who makes a lot of money.
  • Resolve to always be grateful and never lose sight of your values no matter how much you earn.
  • Be charitable.

Fear of Making a Mistake | Self-Doubt

“I’m bad with money. “I’m bad at math.”

If you’ve labeled yourself as “bad with money,” you are hardly giving yourself a chance to prove yourself wrong. This may be an area of struggle but one that you can overcome with a better understanding of finances and/or the discipline to develop better habits.

Overcome It:

  • You probably already have a good understanding of the math needed to keep tabs on your spending and saving but if you still feel doubt, check with your county or local library for basic finance or budgeting courses.
  • The state has extended a helping hand with Enrich, a personal finance program to guide NJ residents to a better financial future. Check it out!
  • Don’t blame the money. If you’ve spent frivolously in the past, the money didn’t make you do it. A lack of self-discipline got you there. Set spending limits and abide by them. Keep in mind that the only person you hurt in not doing so, is yourself.

Fear of Financial Risk | Self-Doubt

“I make bad money decisions.” Have you taken a financial risk and failed? Has an investment turned sour?

Overcome It:

  • Change your mindset on the outcome. Consider the financial misstep a learning experience that brings you one step closer to a profitable venture in the future.
  • Get a better understanding of your risk tolerance. Perhaps you need to start with a smaller risk to start and work up from there. Practice builds confidence, knowledge, and wealth!
  • Maintain an emergency fund. Knowing you have a cushion to fall back on can put you in a better state of mind when you want to invest.
  • Talk to a financial advisor who can help assess your risk tolerance and offer you guidance based on the findings.

Fear of Money: a Fear of Change

“Being rich changes a person.”

Overcome It:

You may not be happy with your finances but you’re happy with your friends, family, and life in general. Sometimes the thought of having too much money makes people think they won’t be in the same circle of friends anymore, and they fear the good in their life will change. True friends will applaud your success. You may inspire them to achieve greater success in their own financial endeavors.

Fear of Money: Never Having Enough

“I’m afraid I’ll never have enough money.” “I’m afraid to spend money.”

Overcome It:

  • Fear and anxiety in any capacity can be paralyzing. Fear and anxiety around money can negatively affect your choices and your outlook on life. It takes practice to change from a scarcity to an abundance mindset. Developing good financial habits like monitoring your accounts, building an emergency fund, increasing your financial knowledge, and making realistic and calculated investments can help. The more you learn, the more capable you will feel.
  • Find a mantra that brings you to a state of gratitude and repeat it daily. This will help you focus on what you DO have as opposed to what you DON’T have.

Some of the greatest scary movies of all time play on our fear of the unknown. We fear what we do not understand. We fear that we are inadequate to handle what we don’t know. Therefore, my biggest recommendation to combat the fear of money is education. We are often handed down our financial knowledge from our parents. I was lucky to have a dad who was a successful accountant and business owner. Those early lessons were invaluable to me and gave me the courage to believe I could take over his business and continue its success. This does not mean you have to enroll in a university. Getting a better understanding can mean a course offered at the library as mentioned earlier. It could mean you watch a video on how to maintain a budget or you read a book about investing. We are living in an age where there are resources everywhere to help you, including Ciaccia CPA!

After the knowledge comes discipline. Just like you stay active to keep up with your health, you must be disciplined to put what you have learned into practice. Enough with making excuses. Stop avoiding or ignoring your money fears. Face them! Learn as much as you can to combat them and let that wisdom, and the courage gained from it, guide your actions toward abundance.