Overcoming Fear and Taking Control of Your Finances
Fear and ignorance are two underlying factors in a great deal of the mistakes and misunderstandings that we suffer through in life, and I’ll tell you where this can hurt (a lot): When it comes to your personal finances and investing. Why is this the case? That’s actually very simple — the vast majority of us aren’t taught a lick about what do with our money after we make it (besides spending it, of course!).
To compound matters, the media bombards us with financial information like we’re supposed to know what it means and how to interpret the news. Think about it; on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and the three broadcast nightly news reports (let’s not even talk about Bloomberg TV or CNBC), we get a nightly report on how the Dow Jones Industrial Average, NASDAQ and S&P 500 fared that day. However, unless you’ve studied economics and/or investing, has anyone ever told you in easily to digest terms what those stock indices mean and measure? What about the Fed Open Market Committee’s report? Ever wondered what a “basis point” is? Or what the price of gold means for you and your finances and investing goals?
As you can imagine, one can very easily become overwhelmed and intimidated by the myriad of data and information. And what happens when we get overwhelmed from information that we can’t make heads or tails of? Yeah, that’s right, we put our heads in the sand and tune it out. Better to ignore it than be confused and frustrated, right?
Unfortunately, the “ignorance is bliss” path will end up hurting us in the long run, if not the short run. Some of have defined courage as being afraid, but confronting your fear/the danger anyway. So it is time that we all have the courage to look behind the curtain of the great and mysterious financial markets, and take control of our finances by being proactive in learning more about what we don’t understand.
And you thought you were done with learning now that you graduated from college? Not so! As a wise man once said, “you don’t know what you don’t know, until you try to find out what’s out in the world.”
I’m not suggesting that you jump in the deep end of the pool tomorrow; that’s a little too scary (and since your money is involved, you might not be able to handle the stress). So start in the shallow end taking baby steps. That’s all it takes to begin your journey to financial success and understanding. Some other people have defined confidence as knowledge put into action. Time to be confident. A journey of 1000 miles starts with the very first step.