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Notes on Financial Fear

Fear can be insidious - because a healthy dose of it is designed to protect us - but sometimes it can feel all-consuming and pervasive.

I especially feel a sense of fear or dread whenever doom-and-gloom headlines about massive layoffs, inflation, threats of recession, etc. I'm convinced that our modern news media (both sides) aren't necessarily designed to spread information so much as they're trying to drive website traffic, increase visibility, and boost advertising dollars. (It seems almost grotesque how casually 18-point font is thrown around).

What's the antidote to all of this, then?

Other than limiting news and media consumption (which, admittedly, is sometimes hard), the solution is clarity. Clarity in your finances at the present moment (see my love of budgeting) and for future plans and goals.

There's also another clarity I'm going to espouse: one into the nature of fear itself.

Allow me to explain.

When I was in second or third grade, our class took a field trip to the Jersey Shore. We went to observe marine life (not certain orange people native to Seaside Heights). I remember two things: 1) My mom, a chaperone, chortled about taking some shrimp home for dinner (I think she was joking, but I was vaguely embarrassed that she even talked), and 2) I learned what a hermit crab was. Hermit crabs had never done me wrong, but I found them small, stupid, and a bit parasitic; they'd bogart and then hide in seashells they didn't create. As an adult, when I think of fear (particularly financial fear), I think of a hermit crab (fear) squeezing the life out of a jellyfish (your brain). Your perception can become distorted, and you don't make the best decisions. In fact, many times you may find yourself paralyzed to do anything. But if you can step back and see it for what fear is - something small, stupid, and a bit parasitic - you can open yourself up to a greater landscape of positive actions and positive results (financial or otherwise).

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