How to Face Your Financial Fears

We all have things we ignore out of fear. No matter the reason, we often view it as easier to turn a blind eye to what’s plaguing us, than to face it head on.

While there are some things you can get away with ignoring, finances do not fall into that category. When it comes to those two, fearful inaction can quickly translate into disaster.

Many people cope with money stress by pretending their stress doesn’t exist.
So what is your greatest financial fear?  Does something immediately pop into your mind?

If you’ve been ignoring the debt collectors, spending beyond your means, or avoiding the tough conversations with your significant other, it’s time to tackle this issue, but in a way that will set you up to make the small steps towards change that are needed. And as with any fear, your financial terrors shouldn't rule your life.
1.  Ignoring problems won’t make them go away. Being proactive can help assuage this fear. The first step in confronting your financial fear is naming what really scares you about not having enough money. Is it fear of losing your house? Is it fear that you can’t afford necessities for your kids? Fear that you’ll never be able to retire? Breaking your fear down into basic elements reduces its power and this can put your worries in perspective and help you begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Try grouping the issues together and the solutions will soon become clear.

2. Stop being so hard on yourself. So you over indulged and over spend your money. You are here now.  Today is what matters. Wasting your time and energy with self-criticism won't do you any good. Yes be mindful of your regrets – if you have to, write them down, like you did with your fears above – then forgive yourself and move on. Self-criticism is only helpful in small doses. Self-criticism in excess is crippling. It makes us freeze and prevents us from taking necessary action. Learn to be constructive so you can learn and grow, both from your financial mistakes and areas you want to improve.

ALSO READ: Money can't buy happiness but it does make life easier

3. Talk to someone.  It’s not very South African to talk about money, but you’ll be surprised how many people are feeling exactly the same as you. Speak to a trusted friend or family member or your financial planner. You'll soon realise that the stigma or isolation you feel is false. And they could have some helpful financial advice from either their own experiences or learned advice on how to get out of debt. And if your worries start to affect your health, please talk to your GP.

4. Don't neglect your health. When stress or anxiety gets the best of you, it’s easy to neglect basic needs, which can make your situation feel even worse than it is. Make sure you’re still getting adequate sleep and eating properly. Avoid unhealthy coping strategies, such as self-medicating or over-indulging with food or alcohol. Stay in good shape mentally and physically and it will assist you in taking control of your finances and turning things around for the better.

5. Be realistic. Unless you win the lottery, your money problems are not going to disappear all at once.  Having fears about your finances is entirely normal. Many of us have worried about money but, as with other fears in life, it's essential to manage your financial worries. By being proactive and honest with yourself, you can make your financial situation less intimidating and more manageable.

When you confront your financial fears and look at what is present for you, that’s when you can start to have your breakthroughs.