While reading the title of this article, you may wonder if there can be a bothering fear of money also. Yes my dear readers, the fear of money is for real. Just like people are afraid of heights (Acrophobia) or where people are afraid of closed spaces (Claustrophobia) or the fear of flying (Aerophobia – about 25 million Americans have this fear), there are many people who get anxious about money and money related mattered for a variety of reasons.
So even if one already has lots of money or becomes rich at some point of time, he becomes increasingly uncomfortable with the money he possesses. Not only that some people get into “No thank you” or “I don’t want to be rich” type of denial mode.
Is Fear of Money a known problem?
Yes, this problem has been recognized and it has been termed as Chrometophobia or Chrematophobia. Chrometophobia is a state of an exaggerated or intense fear of money. These words have their origin in Greek – where chermato means money and phobos means deep aversion, dread or fear.
There is no denying the fact that to survive as well as to live a full life, Money is a necessity of life. People aspire to earn lots of money, be millionaire or even billionaire. Perhaps terms like “money”, “how to earn money” or “how to become rich” would be one of the most searched terms on internet. Yet for people suffering from Chrematophobia, dealing with money is extremely difficult. Thankfully, Chrometophobia is not an epidemic like phobia affecting and it affects not a very large number of people around the world.
Type of negative or anxious thoughts about having Money
There can be many different reasons given out by people about having more than enough money which results into a common symptom – Fear of Money. The phobia naturally affects one’s daily life, such as:
- Negative feeling that money has the power to corrupt
- Phobic might fear that money brings loads of responsibilities or they worry that they might mismanage money
- Some begin to get anxious what if there are financial failures in the future
- Some cases of fear of money phobia might fear contacting germs as a result of touching currency notes which have passed through many dirty hands before. Hence some people may go to the extent of wearing gloves to avoid catching infection after handling money.
In general, Chrometophobia is a rare phobia affecting a small number of people around the world.
Causes of Fear of Money
Consciously or unconsciously and mostly unwillingly one acquires a belief that having too much money is root of all evils. According to such a person it is not right to have more than certain specific amount of money. The explanation or what exactly is ‘wrong’ with money may vary, but at the end of it such a believer is uncomfortable about crossing the boundary.
Such phobic fear that Money might live up to its reputation as “the root of all evil.” Perhaps they have at the back of their minds the story of King Midas and the ill fortune that befell. Do you remember the story that his wish that everything he touched be turned to gold was fulfilled, and even his food was transformed into gold?
As in case of formation of other phobias, the fear of money might also originate from negative experiences one might have had associated with money. Perhaps a person was robbed or had to pay ransom because he was a rich person around. Another case could be where a child has grown up watching his elders fighting over money or wealth makes him dislike the idea of having money. Such kind of conditionings may become permanent behaviour patterns where one Fears Money
Similarly, the concept that too money is wrong is ingrained into the mind of the child at a very young age when the mind is impressionable and cannot logically question the reason. The concept that wanting too much money makes one greedy, has been embedded in the minds of children in many societies through fairy tales and bed time stories.
Laziness or work shirker may like the shun the responsibility of managing money, doing right investments, monitoring the economic and financial trends, interacting with the bankers and investment advisors etc. Such people may consider this a stressful responsibility or a boring exercise and fear that may go totally wrong. Hence they are not ready to live with this anxiety.
Some time physical illnesses, hormonal disorders or some deficiencies may develop in a person which could also lead to Chrematophobia.
Symptoms of Chrematophobia
The fear of money could cause varying symptoms based on the extent of one’s fear.
- An abnormal and persistent fear of money.
- The person affected by fear of money might refuse to deal with money. As a result, everyday activities become difficult for him and for people around him.
- Some people with little money constantly keep counting money for the reason that they feel powerless or find themselves with insufficient means of taking care of themselves. This is another symptom of Chrematophobia.
- Depression: it is a major side effect of this phobia. The phobic often realizes his irrationality of his thoughts but feels powerless to control them. Such a person withdraws himself from active social life and may even refuse to participate in family activities. They don’t like to go for movies, or to restaurants etc. This may affect his relationships with family members.
As can be seen, Chrematophobia is a debilitating phenomenon. It is not merely associated with currency notes but with the concept of money as a whole hence Debit Cards, Credit Cards or Electronic Money Transfers, cannot ease or erase such fears. The overall thought of exchanging or giving money away sets off a panic attack in the person having Fear of Money.
How a Fear of Money can affect your life
As we noticed, there are different causes for Fear of Money but the end result is common – it makes people anxious about money. Of course, it is your very personal matter that how much wealth you want to have or earn money and no one can influence you on it but it is certainly not healthy for you to have fear or any other negativity wrongly in your mind about money. As a consequence of fear, one may take one after other wrong decisions in life. For example, not making efforts to grow one’s business or refusing better job offers or promotions within the same organisation could be results of such a phobia.
- Is a Chrometophobia restricting your scope for financial success?
- Are you somewhat sabotaging your own chances of being better off?
If you have ‘extra’ money or ‘more than the limit money’ and you feel compelled to give it away or spend it too soon is an indication you need to overcome fear of money.
How to Overcome Fear of Money
or how can you change such limiting beliefs about money?
It is not easy to accept that you or someone close to you has fear of money or Chrometophobia. Here are a few steps which can be helpful.
1. Acknowledge and seek professional help
First step is to acknowledge and accept that there is a fear and one should seek help from trained professionals in psychology and psychiatry. Thanks to the continuous advancements being made in the field of medicine and psychology, the process of correction should be easy and safe.
Once you are under the guidance of experts, you can also take certain self help steps as follows:
2. Face your fears
Even doctors have fears, phobias and diseases. So tell yourself that it is OK and you can have better control over it. Understand what exactly the problem is and learn to deal with it effectively. Read and educate yourself about your money.
3. Understand your money inflow and outflows
It is highly recommended that you make friends with the entire process of money flow. This means that you should know exactly how much money you earn every month through primary and secondary sources on one hand and on the other hand what are the expenditures and investments that you make with it.
For the uninitiated, it is pertinent to mention here that primary source is your salary (if employed) or profit (if in business) fee / commissions (if self employed). The secondary source is your second part time job or royalty from books or interests on securities and investments or the rental income etc.
It is quite possible that you never saw or knew about your own complete picture of earnings (inflows) and expenditures (outflows) and the balance that goes towards savings and makes investable surplus. Knowing the complete picture and the dynamics is likely to make you less anxious about the money.
Also keep in mind that everyone has their times when they are anxious about their money. Your issue is that you didn’t get over it, but it happens to everyone.
4. Take advice from Finance and Investment Experts
Fortunately we live in a world of super specialization and where the services of best experts are easily available. You can talk and take necessary help on the matters of Managing Personal Finance, Investment Planning and Business Finance etc. If you can afford it then go ahead and have the services of a Finance Adviser on a regular basis. Some Finance companies or Banks make these services available to you free or at a nominal price in case you maintain your account with them.
Alternatively, you may take offline or online course to understand money better by studying subjects such as Budgets, Finance Calculator, Investment Calculator, Tax, Tax Calculator, Tax Savings, Investments and Stock Market etc. After you have familiarized yourself well these topics then you should work on them to pound your fears and stay updated through investment and finance news.
5. Learn from the experiences of others
We all live in the same world and specifically your friends, peers and relatives have more or less similar circumstances, work challenges and living conditions. Hence it always helps to speak to them and learn from their experience about coping with Money Fears or Financial Worries. After all there is no point in re inventing the wheel when someone has already done it.
6. Work at the subconscious mind level
Any psychologist or a doctor will tell you that fear does not take birth suddenly. It is belief system (albeit negative) which has taken months or years to embed itself in the mind of the person who has a belief that money is evil or negative hence it is a subject matter of fear and avoidance.
In that case, some of the well acknowledged and effective tools are:
to clear the unwanted thoughts and clutter and plant positive, constructive thoughts in their place.
To sum up
Don’t make a lot of major changes at once. Begin with knowing your financial standing first and try to find from your past that why you fear money. As a next step make a budget and strike a healthy balance between your needs (expenses) and earnings. Of course, there has to be regular savings which need to be invested smartly and also it should serve as a reserve for any contingencies.
Do whatever steps you need to take without making all financial changes all at once.
Make budget, monitoring and corrective course correction as a way of your life. You have to continuously come to terms with how you feel about money. Change your budget as needed. As things change, you should make sure your budget matches it. Once you have begun to confront your fears and begin dealing with it, you will start feeling better. Good Luck !
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