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Lesson 4h: Fear

Objective: Understand how to overcome your fear around money
"In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure."
- Bill Cosby

Money and fear seem to go hand in hand in today's society.   I know people that have given up on saving for retirement because they feel that it is too late.  They fear that they may not have enough money for retirement.  There is fear of losing one's job, fear of Social Security going bankrupt, and fear of not having enough money for their child's education.  Because your future financial situation is unpredictable, there are plenty of reasons to fear the future.  Fear plays a large role in financial marketing.  Insurance companies get us to buy their insurance and annuities out of fear of what may happen in the future.  Financial institutions tell us that:

  • You are not going to have enough to retire on unless you save 10% to 20% of your income each year.
  • You need to subscribe to their service to learn about the next hot stock or how to protect yourself from the next stock market crash.

The media then enhances these fears with stories such as:

  • Seniors are going to Canada to buy affordable medication.
  • Employees are losing their job and/or retirement benefits while executives make millions.
"When you face your fear, most of the time you will discover that it was not really such a big threat after all. We all need some form of deeply rooted, powerful motivation -- it empowers us to overcome obstacles so we can live our dreams."
Les Brown

Insurance companies and financial institutions thrive on our fear of uncertainty.  We can never get rid of the uncertainty or fear, no matter how much insurance we buy, however, we can learn how to stop fear from controlling our lives.  We can stop fear from paralyzing us from taking action.  We control our fears by determining what we fear the most and educating ourselves on what the risks are and what we can do about it (whether it is to buy insurance, save money for retirement, or do nothing).  The more information we have about the potential outcome and how we can influence the outcome, the less fear we should have.  As you do your research, it is important to look at different sources of information in order to avoid the bias associated with any one particular source.  The more information you have, the more power you will have over the situation.  This is where retirement, college, and long-term care planning come into play.   You will have less fear of not having enough money for retirement or not having the money for your child's education the more you know and plan.

Exercise: Take a few minutes and ask yourself, "What do I fear?"
"There is nothing to fear but fear itself."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

Fear can be useful in slowing people down to review the risks and rewards of a situation.  However, many people are stopped from pursuing their dreams due to fear.  Fear stops people from taking action (paralyzes them); action that can improve the situation.  In controlling fear in my life, I remember a saying of Wayne Dyer, "It makes no sense to worry about things you have no control over because there's nothing you can do about them, and why worry about things you do control? The activity of worrying keeps you immobilized." 

How do you overcome fear?

  1. Educate yourself on the possible outcomes and learn what you can control.
  2. Know that there will always be some risk and take action to move through the fear.
  3. Know that you are doing the best you can (do not stop with self-doubt that you are doing it well enough).
  4. Set your belief that the perfect outcome will happen.
  5. Let go of what you can not control and see what the universe provides.

The last part of fear is knowing that everything will be all right.  There may have been events in your life that were embarrassing, degrading, or even painful.  Yet, we are still here.  Life is full of lessons that you can either learn from or use to hold yourself back.  It is up to you to move through the lesson or get stuck in the lesson. 

Do you want to continue to dread not having enough money for retirement or your child's education?  Or, do you want to do what you can to overcome these fears?  Yes, there may not be enough for your child's education.  Yet, is it okay as long as you know that you did what you could.  Maybe your child needs to work for his education, is that the end of the world?  Maybe, you will need to work a few more years to afford the comfortable retirement that you want.  Yet, do not stop action towards your goal because you feel that it is too late or fear that you will not have enough.

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