What are your beliefs and feelings about money? Most of us hold onto some, whether consciously or unconsciously and these could have even been there due to influences during childhood. For many people, money is associated with negative emotions – perhaps there was never enough or money seemed to be at the root of all arguments (or all “evil”). Fear is an emotion commonly associated with money: fear of poverty or even just fear of facing up to your financial matters. Letting go of fear is not easy, but it is an essential step towards financial intelligence…
Letting go of fear
Taking that all-important first step is difficult with almost anything we do, including moving towards financial intelligence and health. If fear is something that is holding you back financially, you can be forgiven for feeling that way! You only have to turn on the TV or read a newspaper to see endless predictions of economic doom, property “bubbles” or rising unemployment.
One of the keys for letting go of that fear? Turn fear into focus by committing to financial intelligence and sorting out your money issues as soon as possible. While it can be tempting to stick your head in the sand, nothing about your financial situation is likely to get any better that way.
Identifying and committing to a budget and a solid financial plan (preferably with the assistance of someone qualified) is a great way to put your money fears into perspective. Fear often comes when you feel like situations are out of your control, so focus instead on what you CAN control, which includes your own spending and how you spend your time. (For example, do you spend any time upskilling your financial knowledge?).
Taking back control starts with identifying exactly where your money is going. Keep a money diary and go through the last few months of your bank statements; are there certain discretionary areas where you are leaking money? Do you have old automatic payments set up on bank accounts or credit cards that you are no longer getting benefit from? Know exactly what you have coming in and where money is going out.
If crippling debts are a factor for you, seek help from a financial professional to devise a plan to tackle them. Sometimes there are ways to negotiate better interest rates for example, or a manageable payment plan. Don’t let fear paralyze you into doing nothing. If you’re worried about the cost of a financial professional, it has been my experience that talking to someone who knows what they’re doing is money well-spent, but you could also try local charity agencies who offer budgeting and financial planning through qualified people. The sooner you get these issues dealt with, the sooner you can breathe easier and be on the path to a better financial future.
Lastly I would also suggest learning anything you can when it comes to finances and investing. Pick a good financial website or book and take back some time to learn.