Are You Afraid of Money?

Women's Financial Learning Centre

Every year at tax time, you break into a cold sweat.

When someone asks about your long-term financial plans, like when you plan on retiring, you change the subject quickly.

You won’t even calculate how much debt you have – it’s just too scary.

The good news is that you’re not alone. Many people have a crippling fear of finances, and it’s no wonder:

Every time something catastrophic happened in life, one of the first thoughts you probably had was how you were going to pay for it. You might even have felt that devastating feeling: the sinking realization that you can’t afford the crisis at hand.

That can make you want to keep as much distance between you and your finances as possible.

There’s just one problem: That’s the wrong move.

This Fear Gets Better When You Face It

When you avoid your financial situation, it can only get worse. You can’t solve a problem if you don’t understand what the problem is in the first place.

The closer you look at your money, the more you’ll realize it’s not a terrifying force that’s out to crush you, controlling your life. Money behaves in very predictable ways. It can be managed and understood. It’s not a monster with a mind of its own; it’s more like a household pet.

And just like any pet, when you neglect it, it gets up to all kinds of tricks when you aren’t looking.

That’s why credit cards get so high without us even noticing. That’s why people wind up scrambling for the last $200 for the mortgage. That’s how people spend so much and then seem surprised that they did.

How did that even happen? You had money… how did it disappear from under your very nose?

When you pay attention to your money, these disappearances don’t happen. Your money becomes well-behaved, easily understood, and can even perform little tricks for you – like earning interest or helping you go on vacation.

Sounds a lot better, doesn’t it?

What Happens If You Don’t Face Your Financials?

If you’ve been living with the fear of money for a long time, you may not believe that this problem gets better when you look at it. After all, money is scary. It’s always been scary. You’ve never understood it, it’s always been the bane of your existence, and it’s not going to get any better.

Here’s a question for you:

How has avoiding your financial situation and fearing money been working out for you so far?

Probably not great.

It’s also pretty likely that not paying attention to your money, shoving this particular problem under the rug and hiding your head in the sand, has actually made the problem … worse.

That’s great news!  This means that facing your fears gives you everything to gain and nothing at all to lose!

Here’s the first phase of facing your money fear:  finding out where you are right now.

Step #1: No Judgment

Wherever you are is where you are. We’re not here to make you feel bad about the amount of credit card debt you have or the interest you’re paying or that time you bought a new coat when you needed the money for rent.

All we’re here to do is help you face your fear.

It’s likely that one of the reasons you’re so afraid of money is that you’re embarrassed or ashamed about where you think you might be right now. You might be in a less-than-ideal place, and you think that’s a dirty little secret you should hide. You feel that people are going to be judgmental.

Here’s the truth: No one needs to know about your financial situation but you.

You can keep this information entirely to yourself and never tell a soul.

You’ll still know where you are, money-wise, whether you tell others or not. And when you know where you are, you can start to move forward to where you want to be.

Step #2: Know the Truth (the Whole Truth)

It’s tempting to guess at how much debt you have and call it a day. It’s close enough, right?

If you do this, the problem is that you’ll always know that the number is maybe not quite what you thought it was. You’ll worry that it’s worse than you thought. You’ll still be hiding from the truth.

We want to face that fear, not run from it. That’s the only way to stop fearing money in the first place.

Start by writing down the number that’s in your checking and savings accounts right now. If you have investments, write down the totals in those accounts as well. If you own a house, include the equity you’ve paid on the house. Tally all of those numbers up into one big number.

These are your Assets.

Then go through and check the balance on all of your credit cards, and write those totals down in a separate column. Got a mortgage? A car loan? Student or personal loans? Put down those numbers as well, along with the interest rate you’re paying on each loan or debt.

Tally up those numbers. These are your Liabilities.

Now take a deep breath, and subtract your Liabilities from your Assets.

That’s where you are with your money right now.

Step #3: You Can Do This

The number you’ve arrived at may worry you. If you’ve been scared of looking at your finances for a long time, it’s very likely that where you are with your money is in the negative. It may even be a pretty sizeable negative number.

That’s okay.

That’s okay because now you know – and knowing where you are is always better than not knowing.

You have something to work with. You can turn that number from a negative into a positive. You can do this with your own attention and care and ingenuity. And you can do it for yourself – to make it possible for you to enjoy even more of the things you truly want in your life.

We’d like to help.

We created the Money Map Coaching Program, and this special, interactive program is entirely dedicated to YOU and your financial success.  You’ll learn about managing your money in a way that completely takes away all your fears and sets you on a confident path to success.

Learn more about the Program