I'm just going to say this out loud because I think part of the problem with money is that many of us are afraid to even to admit this but here we go, "Finances are scary, and sometimes it scares the living crap out of me." Yup, I said it out loud. Whew! And anything that scares the doo doo out of me makes me want to overeat especially cookies and ice cream to relieve the anxiety.
For the Skinny Debt Diet, in general, I think that it is healthy to admit that you have fears about your money and finances because bottling those feelings up is what can make that Haagen Daz and Mrs.Fields look like saviors. Some of us may have grown up in homes where money was not allowed to be spoken about, or that money topics were taboo and you're supposed to know everything there is about money. Money can be very emotionally polarizing for many of us.
You're kind of set up to feel lost
I think feeling lost and confused about our personal finances is normal because think about this, most of us actually never had a class in school or college for that matter that taught you about personal finance. Where did you learn to balance a check book? Where did you learn what those 401k papers mean? Who taught you about loans? Think about that. We're kind of left on our own to figure all that money stuff out. In college, they'll tech you about GNP and accounting, but how about understanding what personal taxes, investments, and even debt is all about.
So, how did most of us learn about money management? Well, if you're like me, I learned from my parents and when I got older I asked friends, and then started hitting the money section at Barnes & Noble or Amazon. Dummies books here I come! When I found myself with a million dollars in what felt like overnight, I was like, "Holy cow! Who do I talk about this with? What's all this new paperwork I gotta look at? Where do I go to learn about the taxes in my new tax bracket?"
How listening to perfect girl hurt me financially
One major thing that contributed to me losing all that money was not dealing with my fears and anxiety, or even admitting that I had fears. On the surface, I acted like I knew what I was doing because that's what perfect girls do. I asked for help too late because I was too afraid to ask for help in the first place. This was an instance where my inner perfect girl held me back in a way that cost me big time financially. That experience was definitely a huge learning lesson which I will not make again, and which is why today, here on the blog I can say this more freely, "Finances can scare the living daylights out of me. Someone help!" And, it's okay.
Now here's the thing, feel your fear, express them, but do not let those fears stop you from doing what you need to do and that is be responsible and accountable for your money actions. Remember "Feel The Fear But Do It Anyway."
That slice of pepperoni is looking mighty relieving
Like I said, before, when I'd feel those money fears the first thing I'd do is gravitate towards the sweets and oh pizza. Something about pizza calms my money worries. But, pizza and desserts like peanut butter cookies and Boston Creme pie are not helping the waist line cause, and it's really doing nothing to change what's going on in the bank accounts.
In fact, the hard cold realization that I was eating away my bank account was what got me to start working on my money anxiety and food relationship. I did a calculation and discovered that at one point over 30% of my money was going just to food, and most of that was eating out all the time. Yeah, 1/3, scary.
A pie to see how much pie you're really eating away
If you sign up at Wesabe and join our Skinny Debt Diet group there (again it's all free and spam free), you can lay out your finances and see how much you're eating away your money, literally. And yeah, that will be a scary exercise, I'm not going to sugar coat it, but it's going to be a good scared.
It's going to be the kind of scared that will help you reach your financial goals and dreams because you don't want to be living paycheck to paycheck or in debt for the rest of your life. Knowing where your money is really going is the kind of scared that is, "I'm feeling my fears but doing something very loving and healthy for me, along with my now and my future."
Again, feeling fear is okay and perfectly normal, everyone, and I mean everyone has some level of anxiety and fears around money. Just know that you're not alone, and the only difference between you and those who are reaching their financial goals is the degree to which you let your fears hold you back. Don't ya think?