Americans will pay good money to get their socks scared off.
CNBC.com recently cited the increasing number of tourists flocking to amusement parks to find the best (meaning worst) roller coaster rides in the country as a bellwether for the economic recovery.
When it comes to financial fright, however, few would get in line. Dealing with finances can make our hands shake, metaphorically speaking, and what doesn’t scare one person is bound to unnerve another. Some people confess to being too frightened to open their monthly investment account statements. Others put off getting life insurance or preparing wills because having to plan for death is just too unsettling. Retirement – a time of life that should be sunny and pleasurable – is for many a haunting and shadowy prospect.
Unfortunately, financial fears start playing malicious tricks on us if not treated with our attention. So rather than turning out the lights and pretending no one’s home, here are some ideas for turning those pesky financial ghosts into friendly, little Caspers.
The more you know about a subject, the less daunting it becomes. Start by learning about the necessary relationship between investment return and risk. Once you understand that you can get paid for taking reasonable risk, you will have discovered a fundamental investing principle that shines a lot of light into all those dark, cob-webby corners. Study the history of capital markets and asset classes. You’ll see that over time there is a reassuring cyclicality to these markets and classes that can dispel those chicken-little fears that “the sky is falling.”
Practice Makes Peaceful.
Some financial tasks get scarier the longer we avoid them. Establish a routine for reviewing your financial information, keep a calendar date with your budget, or regularly move money into savings or investments. You’ll see that the task of financial management may be mundane, but it’s not monstrous. It’s been found that women, in particular, are scared to death of asking for raises or promotions. The solution, according to a leading woman software executive, is to “lean in” and keep asking for what you need financially, as opposed to staying quiet.
Plan for the Unexpected.
It’s so much easier to keep financial fears in check when we’re prepared to deal with them. Having money set aside for emergencies such as job loss or a medical crisis, or buying insurance against devastating financial loss, won’t necessarily prevent what you fear most from happening, but it will enable you to survive those events. Recent research by CFP Board and the Consumer Federation of America has shown that those individuals who engage in comprehensive planning are much more confident about the future than those who don’t, regardless of their socioeconomic status.
Don’t Go It Alone.
The financial world can be a far less dark and spooky place when you have a trusted companion at your side. A CFP® professional can help you face down your money fears by helping you to meet them head on.