Face your Money Fears this Halloween

Hallowe'en has often been a time for all things spooky. For many adults we've found there's nothing scarier than some serious money trouble.

Gone are the days when you feared the monsters under your bed, Pontianak at your window or hantu pocong (hopping corpse ghost prevalent in Malay and Indonesian culture) in the cupboard. Today, there are more scary sights. Like the credit card bill after a carefree weekend; your first child’s college tuition fee or the prices of houses in the Klang Valley. There may be nothing gory or creepy about a bank officer but we’re sure a phone call from him could make a grown man’s blood run cold.

Money fears can be some of the most crippling things an adult experiences in life but just like the ghostly fears of your childhood days, financial scares can be controlled through a little understanding and lot of facing up to facts.

What is your biggest money fear?

The first step to facing a fear is knowing exactly what it is. Ask yourself what it is about money you fear the most. Is it the credit card bills you know are mounting but you’re hoping that if you don’t look at the cold, hard numbers; you’re safe? Or maybe you have been ‘stealing’ from your retirement pot and now are afraid to think of how little you actually have.

Whichever your fear, figure it out and make a conscious decision to deal with it.

Face it

Now that you know what it is you fear most about your financial situation; face it. Open that latest bill; retirement account or invoice from your child’s college. Rope in a spouse, trusted family member or friend to sit with you if you think that will help. Sometimes, a neutral third party will be able to put fears into perspective. The problem may not be as large as you’ve made it out to be in your head.

Together with your trusted companion, face that fear.

Devise a plan

Facing the fear is only one part of the ridding process. It’s pointless to then continue going on as if nothing had happened. “Yay, I looked at my bill/invoice/account. Now let’s get on with life!”

Not so fast!

Fears that aren’t properly dealt with; just like a badly exorcised haunting; will come back to give you 360 degree head turns much like the Exorcist.

If it is your credit card; call your bank to see if they can work out an instalment payment plan which will reduce your interest or opt for a balance transfer. If it is the lack of retirement fund or just extra cash for an emergency; look for ways to cut back in your budget, earn overtime hours or apply for financing. There are always alternatives. If you feel this is much more than you can handle; call in the professionals. For those in real debt trouble; AKPK can help. If it’s still manageable; call in a personal financial planner. For a small fee, the planner will look at your entire situation and come up with the best plan to meet your short term and long term goals.

Don’t fall off the wagon

Once you have a plan, you will have to make the effort to commit to it. Having a nice budget on an excel sheet isn’t going to help. Put the plan in motion and follow through. Even at the ¼ mark of the initiative, you’ll find yourself much more confident that you will be able to see this through the very end.

Financial fears are no different from any other fear in life. For most of us; we fear things we don’t understand or believe we aren’t in control of. Sometimes, there will be events you cannot help, such as a medical emergency – the proverbial spanner in the works – but even when we cannot control life and its events; we can always control how we react to it.

Once you’ve got a handle on your money fears, you can safely watch it dissolve just like your childhood fears did with the purchase of a night light or when you were old enough to see the apparition was nothing more than a hanging coat.

Good luck and happy Hallowe'en!

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