Why do your finances scare you?

by | Mar 14, 2024 | Financial Well-being

“I am afraid to look at my numbers because I’m terrified of what I might discover.”
said a good friend of mine not without frustration about how the financial numbers make her feel.

Ever felt that knot in your stomach when it’s time to face your financial numbers?

Guess what? This fear of financial reckoning isn’t unique to my friend.

Feeling nervous and uncomfortable around numbers when, for instance, we need to check our past revenues and expenses or forecast for the future is not uncommon at all. It’s a shared experience that transcends financial status. No matter where we stand financially, at some point in our lives we get to experience this feeling in various forms.


So where does this fear come from?

Somebody even told me: “I used to be so good in Math, so why do I experience this nausea around my financial numbers and why do I feel like running as far as possible from them?”

Well, your financial matters are more than just mere Math problems. They are a reflection of your emotions, feelings, hopes, dreams, and ambitions. So, you’re not just solving equations here. You are confronting your emotions, building resilience, and cultivating a profound understanding of yourself and your aspirations, your goals. Each number represents a story, a choice, or even an opportunity to shape your financial future.

The fear of facing financial numbers originates from and, at the same time, manifests in 2 directions:
– The guilt for your past actions and decisions
– The worry for your future

The guilt of past mistakes

It may occur when:

– reviewing your monthly or yearly expenses,
– checking your bank accounts
– tracking your business’s profitability or other KPIs,
– assessing long-term assets buying & use, or
– reflecting on your financial decisions.

It creates your own money story of how well you dealt with money in the past and shapes your current financial situation up to this moment.

You, probably like all of us, have your own expectations for where you should be in life. Looking at your numbers comes with the anxiety that they might be worse than you think they should be at this particular stage of your life.

Seeing the numbers, and acknowledging them would be like a confirmation that you’ve done “good” or “bad”, that you are “worthy” or…” less worthy”. What actually happens when you do this is that you are confusing your net worth with your self-worth.

You evaluate your self-value and success solely based on the amount of money you’ve earned so far.
In fact, looking at your financial numbers is like taking a quick picture of where things stand now. It shows what happened in the past, but things don’t stand still. Things change compared to the picture and you can do the same with your financial future.

Remember, you’re the driver of your life, not your money, not your past financial actions.

Often, you might believe that by ignoring your financial numbers, you can escape confronting what you suspect is your financial situation. It’s scary to think you might be seen as irresponsible, naive, or out of control with money, qualities that don’t quite align with being a responsible and successful person. So, you avoid opening bills, checking bank statements, or even creating a budget.

Ignorance is bliss, right? Out of sight, out of mind, you might think. But then why do you still feel miserable?

Knowing where you truly stand financially allows you to understand your situation, accept it, and look for better ways to manage your money in the future. Not knowing will only allow you to persist in your own patterns and keep you away from where you can truly be.

“Ten years from now, you will surely arrive. The question is: Where?” (Tony Robbins)

The worry for the future

It spins around thoughts like:

– What if I never achieve the wealth, status, or aspirations I desire?
– What if my funds run dry, leaving me unable to cover essential expenses?
– What if I get kicked out of my house due to financial struggles?
– What if I’m forever unable to afford the things I desire?
– What if creating a budget only restricts me and my aspirations?
– What if make the wrong decisions?
– Who will I become if my financial situation doesn’t improve?

The worry for the future is an uncomfortable feeling about whether or not there will be enough money sometime in the future. You may worry about job security, market fluctuations, unpredictability of revenues, low or nonexistent savings funds, unexpected expenses, being overwhelmed by debt payments that can be paralyzing, not being able to afford healthcare expenses or to retire comfortably.

No matter which one it is or how many of them, this constant worry makes you feel powerless, insecure, and unable to focus on the present moment. It can also take a toll on your relationships, affecting your ability to connect with others and find joy in everyday life. Finally, it can lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair, and it makes it so difficult for you to see a way forward or envision a brighter future.

So, the guilt of the past and the worry for the future may keep us away from not only discovering our true financial situation but also from the possibility of re-writing our money story and re-shaping our financial future.

So, do you see your finances as just an easy Math equation, or are they more like a wild goose chase, a game of hide-and-seek, or perhaps even a rollercoaster ride?


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