Love it or not, money is a fundamental aspect of our lives. It influences our choices, opportunities, and overall well-being. However, some of us find ourselves avoiding our money like an ex at a class reunion. Avoiding your money might be intentional it might not. But ignoring this particular topic will most likely not have the best ending (unlike avoiding that ex) and end up causing unnecessary stress and worry that could easily be avoided.
Whether it is conscious or not, if you find yourself digging your head in the sand when it comes to money, there is a good chance that you are suffering from something called 'Money Avoidance.'
Money avoidance happens when someone purposely ignores their finances to avoid feeling upset or stressed. People have different ways of avoiding their finances, and they do it for various reasons, but the result is usually the same.
The result is, even more, worry, anxiety and distress.
Not wanting to face our finances can happen to the best of us for many reasons. I see it all the time when I'm coaching, so I've pulled together a list of some of the most common reasons I have found.
Fear and Anxiety
Money can evoke strong emotions, especially when facing financial challenges or uncertainties. There has been a notable rise in this particular reason in the last few years. This seems to be linked to the chronic economic uncertainty and what the future might bring. Fear of debt, anxiety about financial obligations, or the overwhelming feeling of being unable to manage money effectively can all contribute to avoiding financial matters altogether.
Shame and Guilt
Past money mistakes or perceived failures may lead to feelings of shame and guilt, causing us to avoid facing our money. A person may be reluctant to confront their debts, bills, or financial responsibilities, fearing judgment or self-condemnation. Let's face it, in Ireland; there has been a lot of that flying around in times gone by.
Lack of Financial Literacy
Limited knowledge about personal finance and a lack of understanding regarding budgeting, investing, and managing money can create a sense of overwhelm and confusion. Avoidance becomes a coping mechanism to avoid dealing with the perceived complexity of financial matters.
This became so clear in a recent study by the Bank of Ireland, finding that Ireland has a financial literacy level of only 54%, lagging behind international peers like Australia at 64%, Germany at 66%, and the UK at 67%.
If any of these reasons resonate with you, let's start now this minute to put an end to that and set you on a different path, one that points towards the joy of eustress and away from worry and distress.
Step-by-step Strategies to Overcome Money Avoidance Once and for All
Recognize and Acknowledge Emotions:
Take the first step by understanding the emotions associated with money avoidance. Fear, shame, or guilt are normal. We are human, after all. None of us are perfect, and everyone has made money mistakes. So while these reactions are normal, they are not necessarily productive. It's what you do about it from here on in that counts. Recognize that avoiding finances only worsens the problem and will most likely cost you more the longer you leave it.
Look for help
Reach out to trusted friends, family members, financial professionals or coaches who can provide guidance and support.
Get learning, and take the initiative to improve your financial literacy. Explore books, podcasts, online resources, or workshops that offer practical advice on budgeting, saving, and investing. A better understanding of personal finance can empower you to face your financial situation confidently. Money is a tool, and being a good steward of your money is a skill, a skill anyone can learn.
Break Tasks into Manageable Pieces
Overcoming money avoidance is easier when you break down financial tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. Start with simple actions, such as creating a budget, tracking expenses, or setting financial goals. Celebrate each milestone achieved to maintain motivation.
Practising mindfulness can help you stay present, reduce anxiety, and make more conscious financial decisions. Engage in activities that promote mindfulness, such as meditation, journaling, or deep breathing exercises, to cultivate a healthier relationship with money.
Take Action Gradually
Rome wasn't built in a day. Gradually expose yourself bit by bit to financial tasks that you've been avoiding. Begin by opening bills, checking bank statements, or interest rates on saving or loans. As you gain confidence, tackle more complex tasks, such as renegotiating debts or developing a long-term financial plan.
Money avoidance can be a challenging pattern to break, to say the least. But it is crucial to take control of your financial well-being. By understanding the reasons behind money avoidance and implementing practical strategies, you can overcome emotional distress, develop financial resilience, and work towards a more empowered and secure future. Remember, seeking support, education, and taking small steps are key ingredients in transforming your relationship with money.
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Disclaimer: This is information – not financial advice or recommendation. The content and materials featured or linked to on mrssmartmoney.com are for your information and education only and are not attended to address your particular personal requirements.