Author Topic: I'll be fine! Now I just need to believe it - tips for anxiety re money  (Read 5056 times)

Lis

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This morning I woke up to two emails saying I had money deposited into my bank account - yay payday! One for my regular pay check, and one for my overtime. I'm meticulous about organizing my money the day I receive it - I replenish my budgets, set money aside for future definite expenses like rent and variable like electricity (always more than I will probably use so I have a buffer), and send the rest right off to savings

I'm always fine. I live far below my means, I stay within my budgets, I have a buffer/small efund I have immediate access to and a larger one in an online savings account that might take three days to transfer. I'm building my efund up a bit more, contributing to my work 401k, and should be opening my Vanguard Roth IRA shortly after I move (beginning of May).

I sent the overtime directly to savings before even replenishing my budgets. Even after I allotted all the money appropriately I still had a couple hundred left over (yay more savings). This happens every pay day, yet without fail I'm always anxious and stressed that somehow I'll fall short. I never do, and even if I did, I have safe guards in place.

I'm starting to feel I have an unhealthy relationship with money. Even buying groceries can be a source of stress for me now. When I paid off my student loans last month, I wasn't even happy, just relieved. Anyone feel this way, or have advice how to handle it?

slugline

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http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/05/29/give-yourself-the-gift-of-not-worrying-about-money/

Maybe this blog post might help?

Also, this may be something that's acquired through age. Once you've weathered an economic shock or two, I think it really helps with confidence going forward.

MDM

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This morning I woke up to two emails saying I had money deposited into my bank account - yay payday!

...I'm always anxious and stressed that somehow I'll fall short. I never do, and even if I did, I have safe guards in place.
If you lose the job, there may be reason for concern.  Otherwise, see the bolded part and remind yourself of it.  And/or, do you have a trustworthy friend/family member with whom you could share?  Sometimes hearing yourself talk with others is better than talking to yourself.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2015, 08:31:17 PM by MDM »

okits

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http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/05/29/give-yourself-the-gift-of-not-worrying-about-money/

Maybe this blog post might help?

Also, this may be something that's acquired through age. Once you've weathered an economic shock or two, I think it really helps with confidence going forward.

Great response.  I was going to ask your age, OP, but you can easily assess, yourself, if inexperience is a factor.

Otherwise, it sounds like you have an anxiety problem.  I understand this as my money fears are often focused on worst-case scenarios rather than probable outcomes. If you are a rational type, try reassuring yourself with calculations and facts.  Itemize a list of ways you could recover from a setback or catastrophe. I always feel better when I am prepared.

mozar

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I suffer from anxiety too. What's helped me is the book "Feeling Good the new mood therapy" and mindfullness. For me that fear goes deep. I've tried pinpointing where that fear comes from. I think it partly has to do with being laid off during the last recession, and being close to running out of money a few times when I was in my early twenties. Something to do with my childhood too but I haven't figured it out. Letting that go may be a life long process for me.

MikeBear

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Here's something that I discovered a couple months ago. I have some issues with this, (over more than money though) and am working up to buying this if I can't beat it myself:

http://cognitivetherapyonline.com/cbt4panic/

Lis

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slugline - I remember reading that post when it first came out, but it was definitely worth rereading. Thanks for the link back! Just need to remember to consciously tell myself I'm fine.

MDM - I'm fairly certain my job is secure, but of course no one knows for sure. Right now my efund would have me set for two months (hence why I need to build it up a bit more. If I can't get a job within that time period, I do have my parents in the area. Obviously not ideal, but moving back in with parents would be an option. Safe guards!

okits - I'm a youngin'. Sort of. At 25 I'm just about to move into a new "grown up" apartment (currently residing in a basement apartment in a private home that may or may not be a legal apartment). I was in college when the recession hit and watched my family struggle as my dad lost my job. I haven't experienced too many set backs that really affected me (an expected $100 vet bill turned into just under $500 but I was still prepared and OK), but that's about it. I think I need to either spend some time really updating Mint or recreating an excel sheet to plug my numbers.

mozar - I will definitely take a look into that book - thanks for the rec!

MikeBear - I used to (sometimes still do) suffer from anxiety about more things. I think the money is just an excuse for the evil anxiety demons to crawl back in. I still get the occasional panic attack, though I'm much better at handling them now. It used to be all or nothing (I'm completely fine or having a meltdown). With money it's a bit different - every time a cost is discussed I get a feeling of dread and nervousness that I can't afford it. I'll look into the link you sent too, thank you for providing!

MRae99

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Hey Lis,
This is my first post here (mostly just a lurker). But I am also 25 and actually studying for my doctorate in school psychology and just did a project on recommendations for interventions with people with anxiety. So I figured this was as good a time as ever to come out of the shadows!
I second the use of some mindfulness and relaxation techniques. I would link some articles and resources, but I think my research may have been a bit more extreme than you are needing right now. But essentially, using techniques like mantras or focusing on breathing when anxiety creeps in could help to manage some of that fear. Also, there is something called exposure therapy that essentially states that you slowly, in safe environments, face your fears and anxiety-inducing situations until the anxiety is able to be managed, and then go bigger (essentially). For you, this could come from what you have already done-- think about the worst case scenarios and remind yourself of your back-up plans (re: emergency fund, ability to move back in with parents-- no shame, I know my parents will let me (and my husband and dog for that matter) move back in with them whenever we might need it). Seeing all of that may reassure you so that if it ever does happen, you can feel confident that you have done the legwork to protect yourself.
Good luck Lis! You've got this-- you've done the work, now keep chugging along and trusting what you have done.

Lis

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Hahaha MRae, I thought exposure therapy would be a good idea to help me get over my spiders. Nope. Nope nope nope.

I guess I'm afraid of the unknowns as well. Like I mentioned, I'm moving into a new apartment where, for the first time, I'll be responsible for things like an electricity bill, internet bill, etc. Then it's my mustachian muscle flexing against consumerism cloaked in concern... for example, my dad is really pushing me to get a landline (which I've been against) because "if you need to dial 911, it's easier to locate than from a cell." I'm still against it and am not planning on getting one, but I have that nagging voice of "but what if he's right?" The reality is, if I do ever "need" any of these things (dad does not understand not needing cable), I can always pick it up later. Just, what if I'm wrong?

It's that issue of, logically, I KNOW I'll be fine. I just have that nagging voice of "what if what if what if" to deal with.

epipenguin

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You may be a candidate to build up a bigger emergency fund than average, so you can offset some of the anxiety with financial preparedness.

I really like the security of knowing I have 3 months income easily at hand (and of course, 3 months income is way more than 3 months of expenses). Then I have another layer of efund in I-bonds that I like because they're kind of somewhat hidden. Hidden both from me as I don't see them in my day-to-day account lists so I find I am not tempted to spend that money at all and hidden from other people (no interest to report to the IRS, I didn't have to list them on a credit check I had to do for an office lease). My I-bonds are my "secret" stash, and are another 5-6 months of expenses.

I also save more in cash that probably the average Mustachian - I have a new car savings account, and a vacation account and a couple of other accounts. These are obviously earmarked for other spending, but hey, if I had a massive emergency then I would have no problem raiding my car fund, and putting off buying a new car for a few more years.

I like being able to think through the "what if" scenarios and realizing I should be OK financially with most of them. I bet once your buffer is larger, some of the financial anxiety will fade.

Exflyboy

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Re: I'll be fine! Now I just need to believe it - tips for anxiety re money
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2015, 04:28:42 PM »
The only thing I have EVER been anxious about is money.

On the one hand its a good thing.. I am very well FIRED (probably twice over PLUS pension income in addition that will cover all our living expenses in about 6 years from now), but going from a net saver to a net spender after 30 years is a huge psychological barrier.

I am beginning to think I am nuts and most of the forum would agree with me....:)

kib

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Re: I'll be fine! Now I just need to believe it - tips for anxiety re money
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2015, 04:32:23 PM »
As you move into your new place some of your bills will become more transparent, and that may actually be reassuring.  To a good extent, that electric bill is under your own control, and fooling around with super low energy use can be kinda fun.  The internet, the cell phone, the land line, the cable tv are all choices you can make or not make, and you will be able to see exactly what they do to your bottom line or your comfort level. 

I'm twice your age, and sometimes I still have to remind myself that trying new things means making some mistakes, and it's OK to make mistakes, it doesn't make me a bad person, it just means I have some more work to do.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2015, 04:38:47 PM by frufrau »

Bicycle_B

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Re: I'll be fine! Now I just need to believe it - tips for anxiety re money
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2015, 04:40:11 PM »
1) For your "extra" stash, where you put all the "extra" money - you could put it in Series I Treasury bonds.  After a year, you can withdraw them at will, and in the mean time they are federally guaranteed with an additional guarantee to keep up with inflation.  The guarantees last 30 years.  You could build up a really big safety margin while reducing the cost of having your money in bonds instead of stocks.

2) Of course you're mostly asking for psychology support.  For that - I'm no expert, but how about starting new things in your life that are cheap, but you enjoy?  Instead of letting the worries run, do something fun and involving.  So for example, every time you send off your payment and should know you're safe, you then play your guitar or go for a walk or call a friend or something.  Live a little!

The gravity of the new activity will pull you away from the emotional suck of your worry loops.  Enjoy your new adventures.  Think of it as a time investment in building the postive emotions of your future financial independence...

Lis

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Re: I'll be fine! Now I just need to believe it - tips for anxiety re money
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2015, 09:39:25 AM »
and it's OK to make mistakes, it doesn't make me a bad person, it just means I have some more work to do.

Womp womp, hit the nail on the head here. I'm terrified of making mistakes, because one fuck up means I FAIL AT EVERYTHING. Obviously not, but try telling anxious brains that.

Thank you everyone for the great advice! I'm on the right path, I just need to actively remind myself I'm fine.

galliver

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Re: I'll be fine! Now I just need to believe it - tips for anxiety re money
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2015, 10:11:23 AM »
What about doing the math ahead of time? You know (or can check) your current balances, you know how big your paycheck is. Instead of worrying, figure out how the money will be distributed when it comes in. When the math tells you that you have enough, it must be true!

kib

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Re: I'll be fine! Now I just need to believe it - tips for anxiety re money
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2015, 09:45:25 AM »
Just had to laugh - I'm working on a cross country trip with a "camper car" and totally freaking out about it; took a break and email told me there was a response to this post.  Couldn't remember what it was about so came here to read my own words of wisdom.  Oh, Right!  It's ok to make mistakes!!  I think I should tattoo it on my forehead. :)