The emotion we call fear has caused a great deal of damage to all kinds of people in dealing with their money AND their life. Fear does serve a purpose, but sadly, it can cause a great deal of trouble when it overtakes a person's life. Here is the good news. YOU can overcome your fears and grow stronger through the process. This not only helps you with your finances, but ultimately, with your life!
Let's start with the good news about fear. It can save your life! If you see a bear coming at you; your fear tells you to run and that impulse has catapulted the human race to survive many very real dangers. Our brain tells our body the big bad bear is going to eat us and so we get the hell out of there and we live to fight another day. Thank goodness for that fear that's based on reality, but with the good, comes the bad.
We can allow that emotion of fear to cause us to see a bear around every corner. This causes many to live in fear (worry is a close relative to fear), which causes a whole host of problems that multiply over time. It is up to the individual to figure out what should be feared and what should be shunned and let go. YOU are in charge of your fears and they only get "fixed" when YOU take charge of your thoughts.
Now, there is no doubt that some people have some very real problems that might best be served with medicine prescribed by a professional, but many of us could be well served by that "doctor" in the mirror. Yep, you can do this. Whether you fake it til you make it or truly believe in your life changing abilities, I need you to say a very simple mantra again and again and again. I AM THE ANSWER.
I am in charge of my emotions. When fear bubbles up and it definitely will, I can feel it and I can let it go. I do not have to respond to that fear. I can see it for what it is in most cases. It is my brain telling me to be afraid from "fill in the blank." By letting it go, fear loses power over me. I move on and deal with life head on, rather than let it deal with me and cause all kinds of harm. I am in control of ME.
Is it that simple? For some folks, it is, for others, not so much. We have to look in the mirror and be honest with ourselves as we deal with this crippling emotion called fear. In the past, maybe we have let it take over our lives as we worried and worried and worried. It's time to deal with worry. When we start to worry based on some fear, it is important to have a response to that issue already prepared in advance. In advance?
We ask ourselves before an event has happened, "is this something I can do something about or am I worrying over something out of my control?" If we can do something about it, then we should take immediate action. If there is nothing we can do about it, we let it go. We absolutely let it go (out of our thoughts) and move on with our life. Turn the bear into a beautiful and harmless butterfly!
NOW is the time to start identifying ways to respond to our fears (most of them are nothing but butterflies). How we respond can help us move on to live a more meaningful and happy life. We can talk it out with a friend or loved one. We can go for a walk in nature with our favorite person or animal. We can work on breathing exercises involving prayer or meditation. Watch this. It could change your life.
You can face your fears head on like you would a bully. You can visualize the worst case scenario and see how you survive it and actually grow stronger. You could visualize a place full of bears that turn into butterflies at the blink of an eye! So yes, it really is something to be overcome. It is just a matter of finding the way that will work best for YOU. Here is mine. I have learned to replace fears with gratitude.
Gratitude is a simple way to push fear out of your head. Instead of being fearful of what might happen, you become grateful for your current life, which is full of possibilities and abundance. You cannot be fearful and grateful at the same time. These two emotions do not hang out in the same neighborhood in your head. By choosing gratitude, you nudge fear out and move thankfulness in. Watch this.
How does this relate to money management? You take steps to improve your education that ultimately reduces the fear of the unknown. You work hard to increase your pay and reduce your spending. This allows you to save more, which brings more abundance. What do you let go? The many distractions of life that you have no control over. This includes people, circumstances, politics, media, etc.
What about investing? You continue to improve your education as you focus on the right amount of stocks, real estate, bonds, and cash (asset allocation) to own and then you make sure you are paying the least amount in fees when investing your hard earned money. What do you let go? The gyrations of the stock, bond, and real estate markets. Just let go of the noise around the investing game.
What about retirement? You continue to educate yourself as you focus on having the right asset allocation, the same low fees, and not withdrawing too much at any given time so the portfolio lasts longer into your years. Once again, you let go of what the markets and crazy people are doing. You also let go of much of the events in life that you have no power to change, which is most of life.
How do we wrap this up? This is a daily struggle to push fear aside and replace it with gratitude, but it can be done by YOU. Every time you think you have to run away from the bear, check to see if it is a butterfly. Most of the time, it is, and when that happens, be grateful for all that you have and the many possibilities that lie in your future. Your existence is amazing right now. Enjoy the butterflies!
Stuff the lawyer wants me to say: Investing outside a bank or a credit union is not FDIC insured. You may lose the value in the investments you select. All information provided here is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer to buy or sell any of the securities, insurance products, or other products named. Translated: I am not selling anything! Educate yourself, research the information that you learned and finally make the right decisions that will benefit you and your family going forward.