In my experience, worrying about money has been a good thing, provided that it doesn’t consume you and begin to affect other areas of your life.
I remember a time when I didn’t think too much about money, especially when I was spending it. Although there were occasions when I’d step back and look at my overall financial situation and worry about the future, for the most part, it was easier to ignore these concerns than to be worrying about money all the time.
Don’t get me wrong, I was keeping my head above water. Well, kind of . . . my bills were paid on time, I had food to eat and I never shied away from a day out. It was just that, when an unexpected expense would come in, I’d run short on money.
While I thought I had everything under control, after a few unexpected expenses came in quick succession one month, I could no longer ignore my financial problems. I went from having the occasional concerns about my finances to really worrying about what the future might hold for me!
Looking back, if I am to be honest with myself, the biggest concern I felt at the time was not being able to see a path forward from where I was and where I wanted to be.
It’s not like I was leading an extravagant lifestyle either. To me, a great day was time spent with my wife and my daughter or roughhousing with my pugs. I also liked to spend time with my friends, doing what exactly was never that important, it was all about the company I kept and sharing experiences that mattered most.
But, when my money worries really kicked in, I thought: Well, this is it. It’s all going to have to stop until I get myself out of the financial hole I’ve gotten myself into. I must admit, it wasn’t a good feeling. In fact, it was painful. Brutally painful! The constant worry that had overcome me about my finances really began to drain my energy and my optimism for the future.
There came a point where I had to stop worrying about money and do something about the problem, and so I did.
I looked for ways to spend less money and make sure I had enough to pay my bills, including the unexpected ones. I also realised that the things which I really enjoyed doing on my days off didn’t require me to spend that much money at all.
With time, I was able to get back on top of things. I was also able to start putting money aside for longer term spending goals which became the beginning of a savings account . . . something that I hadn’t really had since high school.
The discipline that helped me to get my personal finances back on track eventually became second nature to me. In hindsight, I now realise that, before when I had financial worries, rather than worrying about money I chose to ignore the problem so I wouldn’t have to deal with it; however, the worry never actually went away. It was always just lying there dormant like a constant niggle at the back of my mind. It was only once I started to get my personal finances in order that my worries about money disappeared for good.
Some years on, I now look back on my former self and almost wonder how I used to do it. Because as my financial worries disappeared, I can now see how it created positive feedback in other areas of my life so that I found myself enjoying deeper relationships and worrying less about my career and future as a whole.
I never truly realised that the financial worries which I was trying to ignore were not just confined to money, but they were creating tension in other aspects of my life and getting in the way of me being myself.
I know it may seem like facing your money worries will only lead to even more worry and tension, but, if you take a constructive approach to fixing the problem, once you start to figure things out, I can assure you that a whole lot of stress and anxiety will be lifted off your shoulders rather quickly.
Managing Director of Wealth Seekers and reformed worrier