Do you have chrometophobia? It’s the fear of money. In fact I know first-hand how scary looking at your numbers can be. I once had a client say to me, “I don’t look at my numbers, because if I did then I would have to do something about them!” Exactly, that’s why most people do not.
As one of my clients said, “I’d rather go bungee jumping in the nude in December then deal with my numbers!” So if looking at your relationship with money and numbers scares the bejeebers out of you… you are not alone.
You are probably not going to run into any real zombies on your morning commute, but our brains still react in the same way to anything we deem threatening–including financial threats. As far as the brain is concerned, a threat is a threat is a threat. And instinctively, it pushes us to avoid these threats as if they were threats to our lives. One of the most difficult fears to discuss is worry surrounding money. Usually this is because of fear–fear of inadequacy, lack of planning or lack of confidence.
In the spirit of conquering fear this Halloween, here are some ways to help you to keep from falling victim to the 2 most common money fears, which plague most of us at one time or another.
1. The Fear of Budgeting
The ‘B’ word can send people screaming from the room. People think it is difficult and complicated or that it will limit them too much and restrict their lifestyle. It actually won’t, what planning your spending does is tells you exactly what you have so you can spend (and save) with confidence. But that doesn’t matter if sitting down to balance your bills makes you break out in a cold sweat.
The best strategy for this fear is to gradually break down this task in bite size pieces. Don’t try and set up a monthly budget for the month or year even, start by just even knowing your numbers! Track them for at least a month and then you can start setting a budget. It will be a work in progress but over time, you’ll kick your fear and be on your way to a bottom line that won’t scare your pants off. Honest.
2. The Fear of Being Honest
This is a big one. Many are tempted to hide a purchase from their spouse (men and women), or lie about the new credit card you opened to score a discount on some new clothes. A common question that I get is, “Should I tell my partner about my past money infidelity?” My answer: Get it off your chest. Almost all relationships that I have seen conceal some level of money infidelity. It might be as minor as not telling your partner what you really spent on a gift, or as major as keeping a secret bank account to pay for your shopping addiction. If you have a history of lying about spending or hiding money from your partner, it’s time to come clean.
Take a good look at what you’ve been doing, and why you’ve been doing it. What is behind your behavior—Fear? Anger? Control? Resentment? Shame? Before you tell your partner about your infidelity, you need to understand what has led you to these behaviors. This is not about making excuses or blaming your partner. It is about being honest with yourself, so you can take ownership of what you’ve done. No one made you do these things. Start by setting ground rules that you won’t judge each other, but will instead work toward better communication to avoid the need to lie about your finances in the future. You got to have the money talk with your partner before it gets to a money shout! One way to avoid little white lies is to make sure you manage your money in a way that works for both of you.
I’ve been in both of these situations and so you won’t get judged by me. If you want to take advantage of a free 30 minute consultation with me for some help, advice or just an ear, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The past does not equal the future and there is light at the end of the tunnel, I promise.