I believe worrying about money is robbing people of happiness. So many people say people are stressed out because they have too much worry and their lack of money is keeping them awake at night. People don’t enjoy today because they have all this worry about tomorrow, next month, or twenty years from now. Some of it is just like a hamster spinning on a wheel because wha are they worried about?
Worrying is like paying on a debt that never comes true – Will Rodgers.
Most of the worries we have about money are from things we have little control over.
What is worry and what are we worried about?
Ever thought about it, what is it? What is this financial situation we’re waiting on to happen that’s going to bring all this pain into our lives? I remember figuring this out, and when I did, I wasn’t so worried anymore. Sometimes once you understand your money more, you worry a lot less. Once you know how to manage your money, where you’re spending it, how much you need, you get that peace you’re after.
We don’t know what we don’t know, right? I’m teaching my kids to ride a bike. They have training wheels on them, but they still fall down and crash. Next year the training wheels will come off – and they will crash again. But they will keep riding until someday they may have mountain bikes to go off-roading. Each time out they are moving from the fear of falling to being competent and confident to ride on the streets.
It’s the same thing with your money. Once you understand where those worries come from, you can catch yourself and get back to having peace of mind. You’ll be able to deal with it better because what we all worry about with money is basically three types of worry. Then, once you understand that, we can follow a proven plan, and no longer stay awake at night or be stressed out about money.
The first thing we worry about money in our lives is what I call debt worries.
This is, I have all these debts, and I’m living paycheck to paycheck, and I’m worried about just getting through the day or the month. I can’t even think about what I do have, because I’m so focused on what I don’t have.
- I don’t know if I’ll ever get out of debt
- I might not ever be able to stop working
- how can I pay for my kid’s college
- how can I afford the astronomical costs of childcare if we have another kid
- how are we going to pay the mortgage or the rent
I remember when I moved to Atlanta after college. I didn’t have a job, so my roommate had to sign for the apartment lease. I paid the first months rent, and a security deposit and that was half my savings gone in one day. I’ve got these student loans I’ve got to start paying back in a few months. I’m living in a brand new city where I don’t know anyone. And after a few weeks of no interviews and the next month’s rent coming up, I decided to pay $500 to go to bartending school so I could at least get a job doing something.
So you think about all these bad things that are going to happen, and that stops you from enjoying all the good things that are going on in your life.
It’s the same thing as people:
- who don’t like their jobs
- who are sick of where they live
They get to where they’ve given up hope or don’t even realize hope exists. That’s what people do, they give up hope and live in worry.
So instead of focusing on what we don’t have and where we are now, we focus on what we do have and where we’re going to be.
- I might be in debt now, but I’ll get to financial freedom
- I might not have the best job now, but I’m learning more and being the best employee I can be for that next opportunity
- I might not have any job now, but I’m improving my skills in my downtime so I can get hired faster
- This isn’t the best neighborhood, but it takes time to get to that mansion on a hill with the giant swimming pool.
What happens is a mind filled with worry keeps playing that tape over and over about how bad things are, and nobody ever gets ahead. But once you understand and hear some stories of hope from other people that have gone through similar situations you realize, hey if they can do it, so can I. And you start thinking about ways how you will instead of why you won’t.
Then the next thing we start worrying about, are saving worries.
This is overwhelming, which causes worry. Saving and resisting all the things you could buy is hard enough, let alone figuring out all the things to save for and how much and for how long and just plain how.
When I thought about leaving my corporate job, I had a lot of worries:
- I would be making only enough to cover my basic expenses
- There wouldn’t be anything for saving
- What would happen if it didn’t work out
- I was leaving my safe corporate job of three years
It seems like it’s never enough, so we continue to worry. It’s the same thing for that person in different stages of life. Where to start is confusing, so they don’t start or start with the wrong plan or the wrong priorities. They’re not thinking about having a full emergency fund, they’re thinking about how long it’s going to take to get full, and maybe they can just handle it with credit cards. They’re thinking:
- Is the emergency fund enough
- By the time I get to saving for college I won’t have enough time to save myself
- I’ll have to budget for a first child or a second baby and the astronomical cost of daycare
- At any minute it could all go under
- What if my car or truck doesn’t start in the morning
Think of that all the money that’s going to take – it’s a lot!
Part of saving enough is to recognize saving is a long-term game, that there is a journey and a destination, that you can live a full life and save at the same time. To understand that yes it will take time, but you’ll have everything funded someday.
By figuring out what you should be saving and then coming up with a written plan to save that amount, the worry gets replaced with a calm and trusting in the process. Enough becomes just a date on the calendar where you check off the days until it arrives.
When we pay more attention to our money, then we start to have and save more money.
The third thing most people worry about is loss worry.
They’re scared that, what if they stop getting a paycheck. What if after years of saving and working and then they have to start spending the money to live on for a long time.
I used to be racked with worry, fear, and guilt about money too. I thought
- what if I’m spending too much now so I won’t have enough later
- what if my investments aren’t in the right stuff
- what if I make a bad decision and I don’t have time to recover
- what if my investments aren’t making enough
- what if I run out of money before I run out of life
So we sit and think, what if I’m not doing it right?
If we’re stuck thinking that way with worry, we never change to doing or figuring out the answers. Part of mastering money is that instead of picking some random age to stop working – whether it’s age 35 or age 65, we start thinking about moving FROM something (a dead-end job) TO something (pursuing some passion in life). We focus on figuring out the answers and
- knowing there is enough
- having confidence in the plan
- joy to start the next chapter of life
instead of worrying. The things we would get tomorrow if we change what we do with our money today.
If I don’t have a car payment
- I’ll be able to have another $1,000,000 later on
- I’m not going to have to work until I’m physically unable to
- I’m going to be able to spend more time with my family
When I increase my savings
- I’m going to have my money making me more money than my salary
- I’ll be able to take a lower paying job I love more, and still come out ahead
- I’m going to have money for my kid’s college and my retirement
If you start thinking about all those things that are positive from where you are now to where you would like to be, you start making better choices.
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