What Fear Factor? Take It On, Stare It Down, Overcome Objections
Whether it's New Year's resolutions, a milestone birthday bucket list or a lifetime manifest of places to visit and food to eat, more than half of us create a catalog of events, goals and objectives. Achieving these goals is a road often blocked by one major factor: fear. Fear of imperfect results, unattainable goals, possible failure despite numerous attempts, distractions, expectations of others, big steps taken too soon and focusing on only the goal while ignoring the journey add up to an ambitious agenda too often shelved in favor of a safe existence, wondering about what could have, should have and would have been possible.
Money's a factor in life's bucket list; here's how to face fiscal fears and move forward:
Take on the fear, don't let it take over you
People afraid of their money will leave bank statements unopened, creditor calls unanswered and fail to track important money markers such as overdrafts, credit score, credit utilization ratio (the amount of credit in use each month versus the total amount available) and credit history. They don't want to know where they stand; they're afraid of how bad things might be if they peek at the numbers. Keeping tabs on your financial health is as important as the annual visits to the doctor and dentist; monitoring your fiscal baseline now means fewer problems in the future, and the ability to act fast if fraud appears on a financial statement.
Create a concrete plan for life
Money does not create order in your life. You create order in your life, with money as the constructive framework. Start saving early and put money away for what's needed and wanted. Set up checking and savings accounts, an emergency fund, retirement savings at work (and take it with you via transfer to any new job), and specialized accounts for living expenses, entertainment and large purchases, including a home, car and vacations. A budget is a necessity, whether on paper, spreadsheet or budget software. Track what comes in and how it's spent, and you'll never wonder why you're broke halfway through the month, or find yourself saying "I can't go, I've got no money" when friends suggest dinner out.
Write down any objections and answer them
Think about previous money issues that stopped you from fulfilling your goals. Write out a list of why things didn't go as planned. Then respond in writing to each scenario; how you intend to fix the situation before you say the words "I'm afraid" or "I can't." Now there's a ready response next time the fear of possible financial failure looms and emotions derail your dreams. Your finances, now on firm ground, support your life, your bucket list or that once-in-a-lifetime travel adventure.