10 common money fears and how to overcome them

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Financial worries are inevitable, but they can be overcome. Here’s how

Money is a tool. And like any other tool, it can be a source of comfort and even strength, like buying your first car or helping fund your child’s college education.

But it can also be a source of anxiety, particularly when it comes to having enough to meet bills or save for retirement. Let’s look at some common financial worries, and how to overcome money fears.

In this article:

10 most common money worries and financial fears

Not having enough savings for retirement

Eventually, it will come time for you to step away from your career and enjoy your golden years. To do so, you’ll need to have retirement savings put away for your future. However, it can be a challenge to sock away the money you’ll need, especially if you’re balancing other financial expenses, like raising a family.

If you don’t have much in retirement savings, take proactive action. Decide on a set amount that you’ll put toward retirement every pay period.

Don’t worry if it’s not much to start with; anything is better than nothing. Just $10 a week adds up to over $500 a year. As you stick by your plan, you might find your fears begin to ease.

Fear of losing a job or income

Chances are, you rely on your income for money to pay your bills and cover your basic needs, like housing and groceries. Without your job, you may find it challenging to make ends meet.

If you’re concerned about job loss, try to first understand the root cause. If your company recently began layoffs or your recent performance review was less than stellar, it may be time to look for other opportunities. Get your resume up to date and start applying.

You might also consider a side hustle to supplement your income. If there’s nothing to indicate you may soon lose your job but you still stress about the possibility, learn a new skill that can open up doors to other positions, or focus on extending your professional network.

If the worst happens, and you lose your job, pay attention to the terms of your severance. Sometimes companies will provide you with a few extra paychecks to help mitigate the financial damage.

If you find this is a crippling fear, it might be due to a past trauma (a previous job loss; a parent experiencing unemployment when you were a child). Making a plan for a job loss — by building an emergency fund, for example — can help alleviate some financial anxiety. But you might also consider talking to a therapist who specializes in working with those who have financial fears or anxieties.

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Fear of debt and financial obligations

Most of us carry some form of debt. In fact, the average American carries $59,580 in debt, including student loans, mortgages, and credit cards. Debt can be as small as an outstanding parking ticket or something more extensive, like a mortgage, credit card debt, or a car loan. Owing money often means monthly payments that may last for a while.

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While paying off debt can take a toll on your paycheck, it can also help you raise your credit score and eventually acquire things that you can’t afford outright, like a home. Your home is an investment. Over time, its value may grow — appreciation that you can tap into to improve your financial situation.

If you fear taking on debt, remind yourself you’ll eventually pay it off. Sticking with your regular payments and paying a little extra when you can afford to can help.

Think carefully before taking on new debt. If it’s more than you feel comfortable repaying, look for other alternatives. You may consider saving your money for future purchases rather than borrowing it.

Fear of market volatility

Investing in stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments can be a great way to earn additional money through passive income. You choose the investments you’re interested in and watch their value increase over time.

However, scary headlines can keep you from investing in the stock market. But for many people, especially those who can invest over the long haul, the rate of return from the market is often the best investment option. Even if you don’t know your NYSE from your NASDAQ, you might have a 401(k) through your employer that invests in an index fund, a diverse portfolio of stocks that mirror the overall performance of the market.

Your company’s 401(k) contains investment options that are managed by financial professionals. You can lean on them for help selecting investments that align with your objectives and comfort level.

Fear of spending

Does spending money send you into a spiral of anxiety? Your fear of spending may keep more money in your wallet, but it may also be detrimental to your well-being. One way to combat this fear is setting a budget you feel comfortable with.

Designate your monthly earnings into buckets for essentials, savings, and enjoyable experiences, like travel. When you stick to a budget that aligns with your spending preferences, you might find your fears will dissipate.

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Fear of financial emergencies

Broadly speaking, there are two main types of financial emergencies: an unexpected loss of income, or an unexpected expense. Either can bring hardship. One near-universal piece of advice, though, is to build an emergency fund.

Make an effort to accumulate three to six months of your monthly income in an emergency fund, and stick to your plan. When you have savings, you’ll feel more comfortable with the possibility of financial emergencies.

Not leaving a financial legacy

Witnessing your child grow up is exciting, from seeing them take their first steps to cheering them on as they graduate from high school. However, you may worry about their financial security, especially once you die.

A term life insurance policy provides a death benefit your spouse or other beneficiary can use for future expenses, like a down payment on their first home, along with more immediate ones like death and burial expenses and paying for food and housing when you’re not around to do so.

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You can divide your policy among beneficiaries, ensuring each one receives what you want them to. Through your life insurance policy, you can leave your family a financial legacy, easing your fears.

Fear of financial dependence

Financial dependence can arise in many types of situations. For instance, one spouse may depend on another for money if they attend school or care for young children. Severe illnesses or a disability can also prevent people from working, and they may need to rely on others for financial help.

If you worry about financial dependence, take stock of your situation. If you care for children or attend school, consider taking on a side hustle for extra cash. If you worry about illness or disability that prevents you from working, you can buy a disability income insurance policy. Disability income insurance can replace a portion of your monthly income until the end of the benefit period or when you become well enough to work again (whichever is earlier).

Fear of not achieving financial goals

Setting goals helps you work toward what you most want from life. You have many plans, from getting that promotion at work to having children. Some of your objectives may be financial, like saving a certain amount of money for retirement. Financial goals can take time to achieve, and it may seem like you’ll never meet them.

Consider working with a financial planner or money coach to ease your worries. Financial planners help individuals establish and work toward their objectives. They can devise a plan for you to follow, clarifying the steps you need to take to reach your financial goals.

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Fear of conversations about money

Talking to others about your money issues is often uncomfortable. It’s easier to avoid disagreements or the sense of shame that can come with revealing your financial situation. However, opening up about your personal finances is essential, especially if it may impact loved ones.

If you dread money conversations, consider that many people are in the same boat as you. Your significant other, your friends, and your family, may identify with your concerns more than you think. Talking to them about money can help you consider alternative solutions to your concerns, or at the very least make you feel less alone.

A word on life insurance

It’s no surprise that, like money, death can cause a lot of anxiety. Combine the two and you can understand why some people haven’t spent much time thinking about life insurance. Getting life insurance is an important step for anyone with financial dependents, because it provides financial protection in case the worst should happen to you. Better yet, term life insurance is surprisingly affordable.

Learn what type of policy you might need and how much you’ll pay by getting a free life insurance quote today.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

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Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.

Haven Life is not authorized to give tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seed advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

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Our disclosures

Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by the C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.

MassMutual is rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of Aril 1, 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.

Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The rider is not available in every state and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual are responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made accessible under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party vendors (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, please visit: https://havenlife.com/plus

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