Why Are We So Emotional About Money?
Why Are We So Emotional About Money?
Stop for a minute and think about money in your life. What emotion are you feeling right now? Fear, anger, shame, and anxiety are the most common ones. Why is it that we feel so many negative emotions about it?
Fear of not having enough, fear of not knowing how to manage what you have, or fear of phone calls because you already messed up? All of these happen and can cause a lot of stress. I’m here to tell you that if your bills are paid and you have food to eat, there is enough. My best friend and I were talking about this the other day and lamenting the fact that we aren’t always able to be frivolous with our money.
If you are afraid you don’t know how to manage your money, there are plenty of resources for you. You can hire a money manager, take a class, buy a book, or read a financial blog. I wrote about my favorite money blogs a while back. That’s my favorite way to learn about money because (a) it’s free, and (b) I can find a blog (or several) that I enjoy reading without being tied to just one.
If you are already in a financial hole and don’t know what to do next, perhaps a debt counseling company is your best bet. They are paid by banks and credit card companies to help consumers get control of their bills rather than default on them.
Money is the most common thing that couples argue about. Knowing it’s normal doesn’t make it any easier to deal with, however. If you are single, you might feel anger at your friends who seem to have more money, or at your employer for paying you less than someone else. You might even be angry at yourself for some financial decision that didn’t turn out well. One of my favorite quotes that is often attributed to C.S. Lewis is “You can’t go back and make a new start, but you can start right now and make a brand-new ending.” What a wonderful way to look at any problem! Being angry about the past can’t help you going forward, so take a deep breath, scream it out, and start fixing your money problems. Set up a debt repayment plan, a savings plan, or start your retirement fund depending on your greatest need.
Why are we programmed to feel shame about money? Growing up did you get positive information about money or negative? All I remember about money from childhood was my father was paid once a month and my parents rarely used credit cards. So, a common answer was “We have to wait until payday for that.” But other people grew up hearing things like “We don’t talk about money, it isn’t polite/fun/anyone’s business.” That sent a message that money talk is shameful. When I was young, I had friends who were financially in the same small boat I was in. We commiserated about issues we faced and helped each other out. I am still best friends with someone from back then, and she and I still feel comfortable talking about money together. In this case, our shared history makes it no big deal for us, and we each know there is someone safe to vent to.
In my opinion, anxiety is the next step after any of the first three. If you don’t deal with the fear, anger, or shame, it will fester and grow until it feels like it has totally taken over your life. If you are at the point of anxiety it might be time to think about your lifestyle and your philosophy towards money. Money is really just the tool needed to fulfill your needs, and a good philosophy is that you work to live, not live to work. So, what are your needs and what are your wants? In my case, I need food, water, cat food, a roof over my head, and the ability to keep my car running. I have plenty of clothes and things already, so while I want new clothes, I don’t need them. I am blessed to have very little debt, so it’s not difficult to meet my needs. Would I like to have zero debt? Of course, so I have a debt snowball calculator and a monthly budget worksheet in Excel that I keep updated. If I didn’t, I would have anxiety and fear about money.
My hope is that one day I will feel joy when I think about money. I’m working hard to banish the four horsemen of fear, anger, shame, and anxiety. They don’t have a permanent home in my head anymore, and I hope that you can do the same thing with some of the resources I have linked. I don’t expect to ever be rich, but I plan to be happy.
BillCutterz can’t help you with all of your bills, but we can help with many of them. Having lower bills is a big relief, plus it will free up money to do other things with. Spark a little joy in your financial picture and sign up with us today. If you are already a customer, how about getting some referral rewards by sharing BillCutterz with your friends?