Like many women, you may be asking this question:
Why do I worry about money when I have enough?
There can be several reasons you worry about not having enough money even when you do. But here’s what we ALL have in common as humans: primal brains that tend to worry.
If you want to stop worrying about money, take these 7 doable steps so you can start feeling good about money asap.
While I’m officially an AFC® (Accredited Financial Counselor), I write this post more from decades of dealing with money plus my lifelong addiction to research and solutions to live happier, more peaceful lives.
Understand Why We Worry about Money
As humans, unfortunately, it’s easier to focus on problems than joys. Once I learned of this, I noticed just how true it is!
Have you ever noticed that?
This tendency to focus on problems is because back in the cave dwelling days, we had to be vigilant just to survive.
This meant that we always had to be at least a little worried to keep us on guard. Otherwise, the next tiger, hostile tribe, or ice storm could rob us of our food, shelter or life itself!
And when we know that something negative is potentially lurking just around the corner, we worry. Worrying keeps us in problem solving mode, even when there are no current problems.
Our modern day version of the tiger, hostile tribe or ice storm is money which still pays for food and shelter. These are still primary survival needs!
So, even though giving time and attention to ensure we have money for life does rightfully deserve a high priority in our lives, worrying does not get results.
Evaluation, planning and taking action get results.
And from the evaluation and planning, you can clearly see if you’re on track to have funds for life. Then, it’s time to either get moving or let go of old head junk that keeps you in worry mode (which leads to health problems, over drinking, compulsive spending and so on).
Keep reading to see what else keeps us worrying about money, even when we have enough, and how to stop.
Ditch the Habit of Worrying
Worrying is a habit. The great news is that habits can be changed.
First, develop a conscious awareness of when you are worrying vs being at peace.
When you catch yourself worrying, do this.
1. Allow the worry to surface. The more you can feel it, the better.
2. Next, dig deeper in your psyche and ask what the cause of the worry is. Most likely, the worry is fear based.
3. Ponder why you are afraid. Accompany this with a few minutes of meditation and/or journaling to amp results.
You can get absolutely amazing insights with this process! So, please try it.
You may find, for example, that you think you have enough money because your financial advisor or husband said that you do but you haven’t seen it for yourself firsthand. And deep down, you know this is from old conditioning (about women and money) and that you really need to confirm your financial future yourself instead of relying on someone else completely.
Or you may find that you don’t understand investing quite well enough to be certain if you’ll have enough money to retire comfortably one day.
Or, you may find that an event from the past suddenly pops into your mind which leads us to a reason we worry about money even when we have enough, or, at least, think we do.
Let’s make sure that we do have enough money with the next step.
Confirm That You Do, In Fact, Have Enough
None of us can know with absolutely certainty that we have enough money for life. This is because unthinkable and unexpected disasters can possibly happen.
But let’s acknowledge this and move beyond it while not expecting such an unlikely disaster.
There are very simple to use calculators to help you see if you have enough money to retire comfortably when you want based on your current trajectory.
By marrying data and facts from what has happened in the past (decades, not just the past decade which is tainted with “recency bias”) with these financial calculators, you can get a very reasonable estimate of whether you will have enough money in the future.
It takes less than an hour of time to do this if you have your investment account information organized.
We worry when we don’t know with a comfortable level of certainty. And this is a very accessible way to increase that certainty.
It’s one thing for someone else to tell us we have enough money. That leaves a very valid and tiny little hole for worry.
But when we see and truly understand it for ourselves, based on math, facts and logic instead of emotions, we can validly let go of worry.
If you’re resisting personally confirming whether you have enough money, ponder why with the steps in this post to see what else is going on here so you can be more financially confident.
Because confidence from awareness and knowledge legitimately reduce worry.
Be Cautious of Lifestyle Inflation
Lifestyle inflation can also fuel worrying about money, even when you have enough. Most of us have lifestyle inflation.
I confess right now that I do.
I don’t want to live in the 921 square foot first home I bought, even though I was quite proud of having bought it at the age of 26.
I tend to naturally lean toward being a spendthrift due to early childhood conditioning and the thrill of the find for less money. I do, however, like nice things! We all want to have nicer things as we have the money to buy them, generally (and hopefully!) as we get older.
But it’s important to avoid the “keeping up with the Jones” syndrome to not let wanting nice things fuel money worry.
Because the worry is really less about money and more about status when we subconsciously play “keeping up with the Jones.”
Examine Childhood Money Beliefs
Fortunately, my mother allowed me to share her childhood story in my book several years before she died so I can proceed with this without guilt.
For example, my mother grew up on a farm in rural Arkansas during the Great Depression in a huge mostly female family.
Men were better able to work the farm because they were stronger. And let’s face it: Men were more valued than women throughout history and still are in many cultures.
This was certainly still the case in the 1930’s when my mother was a child.
Most of all, there was deep and unspoken fear around not having enough money for food and shelter.
While I had the most wonderful mother in the world who was far ahead of her time when it came to money and independence, nothing could delete her past experiences.
And those past experiences would have naturally affected her actions.
I observed those actions before I was old enough to even be aware of any of this.
This fear culture among women of all ages is still permeated today due to feeling lesser than a man simply because their ancestors experienced it. And when we feel lesser than, we become dependent.
And when we feel dependent, we are naturally more fearful because we can’t depend on ourselves.
Ask yourself what you could have picked up in your childhood home around money. What were the unspoken but ever present, deep rooted fears that may have only been from the past?
It’s so much easier to let go of worrying about money after you have done this.
What is the ratio of scary and negative news to positive news? Reasons to worry are flashing in front of our eyes every time we are online and every time we hear the news.
This fuels worrying about money as well as a myriad of other negative things.
This is an easy step: By limiting media time and having an awareness of this you can tame it.
Embrace Past Money Mistakes
Everyone has made money mistakes. I can tell you firsthand that financial advisors make mistakes.
Warren Buffett has made investing mistakes.
If they made mistakes, it’s probably okay for us to forgive ourselves of our past money mistakes.
In fact, the overwhelming majority of people have made huge money mistakes or else a Northwestern Mutual study wouldn’t reveal that 10% of Americans have under $5,000 in savings.
Not saving money for retirement is a pretty big, yet very common mistake.
All we can do is release our past money mistakes, so they don’t keep us in money worry mode.
In fact, you can embrace the lessons learned from mistakes and use them to get the results you want moving forward.
These 7 short and sweet but powerful steps will ensure you stop worrying about money even when you have enough.
Plus, you’ll make sure that you do, in fact, have enough money from a place of confidence.
And that keeps us feeling happy and peaceful.