The Silent Saboteur

by | Aug 16, 2023 | Financial Well-being

One of the topics that was mostly brought up lately (usually not directly) during coaching sessions is the fear of money.

It’s a huge topic and the reason I’m writing about it is that I resonated a lot with it during different stages.

All my life I have worked with, or around money. There were times when I didn’t even get to touch the money, but only analyzed and adjusted the financials – the budgets, the balance sheets, the profit and loss accounts, and the cashflows. 

Then there were times when I didn’t touch the money, but the bank accounts and the cashflows were under my planning and approval. 

And then there were times when money went through my physical counting and those were the scariest ones.

As an example, I remember one day during my work as a CFO for a medical company, all the staff in the reception was out of the office for a holiday or for other reasons I don’t remember now and I chose to replace them. 

I was terrified about collecting the money from the patients and making sure that at the end of the day, I had the right amount corresponding to the cash machine and the reports. And just to make myself clear, I was the one who created the cash procedures for the people in the reception, I knew every little step they had to do from the moment the patient came in till the moment they had to close the day and submit the reports to me. So, I knew exactly what I had to do and how things should be done. Still, I was terrified. 

Then I remember when I was a kid, my mum used to work as a store manager for a large food company, and quite often my dad and I used to pick her up from work. Every time we went, she was literally covered in cash collected from sales that she had to count and then prepare the inventory check. 

I used to help her organize the money by category and count them so she could finish faster. I realized I got used to doing all that work, but I was so scared that I might have errors during counting and the inventory check would come out incorrect. And this would have caused serious problems for my mum. It never happened, still, the fear was there. And that fear did not go away, it just transformed over time, with specific consequences over my financial decisions.

The reason I’m sharing these stories is to highlight the significance of acknowledging the fear of money and working with it, as its impact might be unforeseen, might affect different areas of our lives and thus it might be difficult to mitigate.

But what is the fear of money?

The fear of money is informally known as chrometophobia or chrematophobia and addressed by several psychologists, authors, and researchers. Although the term might not have been extensively documented in technical literature, however, the term is now recognized and used in the medical and psychological fields to describe the fear or phobia of money.

The fear of money is a psychological condition characterized by an irrational or excessive fear of money, wealth, or financial success. People with chrometophobia may experience anxiety, panic attacks, or avoidance behaviors related to handling or talking about money.

This fear of money can be caused by various factors, such as:

  • cultural or family beliefs about money, 
  • traumatic experiences related to finances, or 
  • underlying psychological or emotional conditions. 

In some cases, individuals with chrometophobia may fear that having money will change them or that it will lead to negative consequences such as being a target for theft or exploitation.

People who have a fear of money may experience a range of emotions and behaviors related to money and financial success:

  • Anxiety or panic attacks related to handling or talking about money
  • Fear of becoming wealthy or successful (most of the time accompanied by self-worthiness issues)
  • Fear of losing money or going into debt
  • Avoidance of financial responsibilities or conversations
  • Obsessive thoughts or worry about money
  • Guilt or shame associated with having or not having money
  • Difficulty making financial decisions or taking risks related to money
  • Low self-esteem or feelings of inadequacy related to financial status

These feelings and experiences can vary in intensity and may interfere with a person’s ability to manage their finances effectively or pursue financial opportunities. 

What are usually the underlying causes of chrometophobia?

The most common factors that may contribute to the development of this fear are:

Childhood experiences

A person’s upbringing and early experiences with money can shape their attitudes and beliefs about it. Negative experiences, such as growing up in poverty or witnessing financial struggles, can lead to a fear of money.


Traumatic events related to money, such as losing a job, going bankrupt, or being scammed, can lead to a fear of similar experiences happening again.

Cultural beliefs

Cultural or religious beliefs about money can play a role in the development of chrometophobia. For example, some cultures may view wealth as a negative thing, leading to a fear of becoming wealthy.

Anxiety disorders

People with anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder may experience a fear of money as part of their symptoms.

Personal values

A person’s values and beliefs about money, such as a desire to live a simple life or a fear of materialism, can lead to a fear of money and wealth.

Lack of financial education

People who lack knowledge and understanding of financial concepts may feel overwhelmed and anxious about money, leading to a fear of it.

How can we mitigate the fear of money?

Overcoming the fear of money is a process that takes time and effort. By taking small steps and seeking help when needed, we can build the confidence and skills necessary to manage finances with ease. 

Here are some important steps to take to mitigate the fear of money:

1. Identify the root cause of the fear

It could be a past negative experience with money or a belief system that has been instilled in us. Once we understand where our fear is coming from, it becomes easier to address it.

2. Educate ourselves about money

Learn about personal finance, investing, and budgeting. The more knowledge we have, the more comfortable we will be with money.

3. Seek professional help

A financial advisor, coach, or therapist can help us work through our fears and develop a plan to manage our finances.

4. Start small

We could begin with small financial tasks, such as creating a budget or setting up automatic savings. As we gain confidence, we can take on bigger financial responsibilities.

5. Work on achieving a new financial mindset

Instead of viewing money as a source of stress, we could get to see it as a tool that can help us achieve our goals and live the life we want.

6. Practice gratitude

Focusing on what we have instead of what we lack can help shift our mindset from one of scarcity to one of abundance.

What other additional strategies can help us overcome the fear of money?

1. Challenge our beliefs

We need to take some time to reflect on our beliefs about money. Are they serving us or limiting us? It’s important to identify any limiting beliefs we may have about money and challenge them by asking ourselves questions such as “Is this belief true?” and “Is there evidence to support this belief?”

2. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness meditation can be a powerful tool for overcoming fear and anxiety. By focusing on the present moment and observing our thoughts and emotions without judgment, we can become more aware of our fears and learn to manage them more effectively.

3. Set financial goals

Setting clear financial goals can give us a sense of purpose and direction. When we have a specific goal in mind, we are more likely to take action and overcome our fears.

4. Surround ourselves with positive influences

Surrounding ourselves with people who have a healthy relationship with money can help us shift our mindset and overcome our fears. We could seek out mentors, coaches, or supportive friends who can encourage and guide us on our financial journey.

5. Take action 

The more we take action and face our fears, the more confidence we will gain. We may start by tackling small financial tasks and gradually work our way up to bigger challenges.

6. Practice self-compassion 

We need to remember that overcoming the fear of money is a process and it’s okay to make mistakes along the way. Let’s be kind to ourselves and celebrate our successes, no matter how small they may be.

7. Seek professional help

If our fear of money is significantly impacting our lives, we might consider seeking help from a financial advisor, coach, or therapist who can provide us with guidance and support.

So, if we’re struggling with a fear of money, it’s useful to know that we’re not alone and not the only ones. And there are steps we can take to overcome this fear and build a positive relationship with our finances. By trying out different strategies and finding what works for us, we can start feeling more confident and in control of our money.

1 Comment

  1. דירות דיסקרטיות בתל אביב

    I was excited to uncover this web site. I want to to thank you for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely appreciated every bit of it and I have you book-marked to look at new things in your site.


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