Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today


Money & Emotions

And there's a lot of good news if it vexes you.

Are you worried about money? If so, I have some good news for you. Someone once said, “If all your problems can be solved with money, then you don’t have any.” I get the point. Unless you are on the verge of losing everything and living in your car (which is a very sad thing that happens to people every day), your perceptions of your problems may not be serving you well.

Let’s take a look. Can you pay your living expenses and support your family? If so, you are okay. Even if you are a family that just barely breaks even every month, you have to count that as a blessing. Most of us also have those nasty over-the-top unexpected bills. I hate it when that happens. But unless you lose your job or your mind, don’t you always find a way to take care of those expenses?

Most of the time, as we struggle for the legal tender, we somehow manage to survive. Even if you have to borrow from family or good friends, when you’ve gotten back on your feet and returned the loan, you feel good about yourself. The idea here is to look at your track record and know that if you’ve survived the past you can make it through the future.

There are things in life that can devastate you financially—medical bills, divorce, and many others—but if your life is stable and you have taken proper precautions, such as having some savings, perhaps a line of credit, and medical insurance, then when the inevitable unexpected expense occurs, you can make it through. However, if you don’t believe that you will make it through, or if you worry about money constantly, there are some other steps you may want to take.

To see if you worry too much about finances, ask yourself a couple questions. Do you wake up worried about money? Do you check your bank balance and look at upcoming bills more than once every few days or even multiple times a day? If so, then you may have a little financial insecurity going on. Let’s look at getting it under control. If it’s making you crazy, and if you are in a relationship, it can make your partner and your family a little crazy too. This type of anxiousness is contagious, which is important to remember whenever you have the urge to share your fears.

TMI (too much information) happens because it seems to you that by releasing the pent-up feelings of anxiety, you will feel better and hopefully more supported. And this can happen, but not with your loved ones, because they will take on your fear and magnify it. Talk instead with your financial advisor — if you don’t have one, get someone if you can afford it — or your bank manager, or your therapist, provided he or she has experience in the area (and unfortunately most do not). Laying your financial fears at the feet of your family is not good for them or for you. Yes, be honest about any problems, but if you get emotional, so will those closest to you.

It’s hard to be dispassionate about money, but honestly, it’s really the best way to get this issue solved. You have to look at it from a practical standpoint. Go over your debts, look closely at your assets, and determine what’s the best thing for you to do with your time right now. Maybe you need to use this time to get your books in order on your computer or use it to job hunt or to promote your business. Then again, you may need to hire an accountant and go on some interviews. The point is simple: the only way to relieve yourself of the uncomfortable feeling of financial pressure is to take some kind of positive action.

For all concerned (especially you), doing anything is better than doing nothing. You can’t go in the wrong direction, because the only choice you have is to move forward. So look around and see what’s out there for you, and remember that you don’t need to hit a home run. Getting back on base is more than enough.

More from Barton Goldsmith Ph.D.
More from Psychology Today