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Overcoming the fear of wealth

To make wealth you need to control your cashflows. To become wealthy, you must adhere to a budget.

We’d all like to be wealthy but most never achieve this goal because they are fearful of wealth. The thought becomes so enticing, such a validation of a life well lived, of being someone that matters, that the fear of never achieving the status cripples many into inaction.

The fear inhibits many to never truly commit themselves to the pursuit of wealth as one can’t fail if one never tries. One can’t be disappointed if an attempt was never even made. Do you have a plan? Is it achievable? Are you implementing it? Or do you suffer from Plutophobia? The fear of wealth.

The origin comes from the Pluto, who was the Roman God of Wealth and phobia is Greek (meaning fear). As with any phobia, the symptoms vary by person depending on their level of fear. The symptoms typically include extreme anxiety, dread and anything associated with panic such as shortness of breath, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, excessive sweating, nausea, dry mouth, nausea, inability to articulate words or sentences, dry mouth and shaking. 

Many people never take the necessary steps to move past their money fears. Some simply allow financial panic to drive life choices. The fear of financial success prevents us from reaching our full potential because if we succeed, a precedent has been set, one that will be expected to continue in the future, creating more pressure than many of us feel capable of handling.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. In my years working in the money business, I’ve found that pretty much anyone can overcome their money fears – if they’re armed with the proper techniques.

Acknowledge money fears

Before we can change our money patterns, we must first become aware that we’re afraid. We often resist the things that we don’t want to accept, which keeps them stuck in place. There’s an adage which states, “What we resist in life, persists!”. So, stop resisting and start acknowledging.

Although failing is a legitimate fear, don’t let it paralyse you from trying new ways to make more money. If you want to start a business or try your hand at investing, go for it. Just take steps to lower the risk of failure by educating yourself. For example, before starting that business, take some management or finance courses. Or, if you have the time — and money — consider going to a tertiary institution and getting a degree in business. As for investing, turn to books, investment advisors and online resources to learn more about the market.

It is natural to fear the unknown. To increase your financial means, you need to increase your intellectual means to handle it.

Scarcity mentality

You see things that you would like to have, seemingly frivolous items like designer shoes or a new television, and walk away, thinking that because you don’t have the money now, you won’t ever be able to have what you want. You’re jealous of others.

While it’s true that necessities like food and shelter cost more than ever, the real reason that most people aren’t achieving wealth goals has nothing to do with how much money is in the bank. It has to do with how they think about money.

To gain abundance, you must believe in and pursue abundance; it won’t simply fall in your lap. But it’s impossible to do that when you obsess about bills, obligations and the erroneous belief that there will never be enough. You can reverse this by taking stock of what you already have, expressing thanks for it and fixing your eyes every day toward the prize — one day at a time.

Have a financial plan. A plan that hold you accountable to yourself and loved ones. To make wealth you need to control your cashflows. To become wealthy, you must adhere to a budget.

Identify the trigger

How can you get unstuck from your fears about money? The first step is to become aware of the source, or trigger, of your money fears, so you can act to reduce or eliminate them. Triggers differ from person to person, and men and women often have different triggers. One example of a trigger is unexpected life events.

As we navigate challenges in our daily life, we inevitably experience unexpected life events. Whether the event affects us personally, affects our family or affects the financial stability of the broader population, events can create fear about our future. Sometimes we make our fears worse by imagining the worst outcomes. As you’d expect, this is a common trigger for anyone undergoing a change in family circumstance, such as divorce, the death of a spouse or a serious illness in the family.

One of the best ways to combat this fear is to be aware of your financial situation. Get engaged with your finances so that you are prepared for the unexpected. Speak to an advisor. Fear is then replaced with confidence when you know your net worth, or that your income is protected by insurance, or that you know where all your assets are and how they are invested. Money is too important to abdicate the responsibility of your finances to someone else.

ADVISOR PROFILE

Mduduzi Luthuli

Luthuli Capital (Pty) Ltd

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