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How To Side Step The Fear Of Missing Out

You know the feeling.

You’re at a great place in your life—consistent work, happy family, solid hobbies, everything seems content, normal, and comfortable. But then you see something that leaves you feeling unsettled, and, actually, a bit jealous.

A friend of yours has purchased a yacht and is taking it for a spin in the British Virgin Islands. Your somber expression reflects back from your computer screen as you think:

That should have been me!

It doesn’t matter that you’ve never wanted a yacht before, you’re feeling an overwhelming fear of missing out.  Psychologists call this feeling “FOMO” and believe it explains many things, including the addiction many people have with their phones.  They feel compelled to check them every few minutes to make sure they are not missing out on something. 

But FOMO is really quite an old problem.  In fact, its earliest mention can be found in the bible as the tenth commandment:  “Thou shall not covet.”  Envying someone just because they have something you don’t have is the primary meaning of covetousness.  If you have felt it, welcome to the human race! 

If left unchecked, it can lead to lifestyle inflation and debt. No matter how much money you make it is important that you not compare your lifestyle to others around you. You can’t control how other people spend their money, but you can control your view of your own money and how it relates to your goals and future happiness. 

There is no doubt that it is unpleasant to feel like you are missing out, but you always have to listen to your head.  Here are some ways to combat this nasty feeling and come out on the other side an even stronger you. 

Make A Plan

When you have a plan, you are more likely to see results. Take training, for example. If you have a training plan, you will have a map of each session and how it will help you reach your goals. But if you jump into training without a plan, you will end up confused, less motivated, and potentially injured. 

This same principle can be applied to your finances. Make a plan for your financial journey and try to make it as comprehensive as possible. Your plan should be a compilation of your financial picture, how you wish to see your finances grow, and what you can accomplish with that growth. This includes:

Creating a budget.

It is difficult to find financial success without a personalized budget, something tailored to your life and top priorities. Don’t just make a rudimentary budget, make it realistic. 

For example, assume CrossFit is an important part of your workout routine and it brings you joy, satisfaction, community, and health benefits.  In that case, work its cost into your budget each month. Prioritizing your needs and wants can help you find places to cut costs while still maintaining the quality of life you want. 

Setting financial goals.

Your financial goals are one of the most important aspects of your financial plan. They will be the benchmark for your budget, saving strategy, purchasing habits, investing practices, and so much more. Allow yourself the opportunity to set short-term and long-term financial goals that are important to your growth and development. 

You should check-in on these goals regularly. Just like you check your physical progress after training, you need to check on your financial progress as you work toward achieving your goals. Take the time to assess where you are now, and the changes needed to get where you want to be. 

Near-Sighted vs Far-Sighted

When it comes to your finances, it is more important to be far-sighted as opposed to near-sighted. When you are far-sighted you see objects more clearly when they are farther away from you, or, in terms of this metaphor, the future. Your finances need to be comfortable in the present, but you don’t want your present decisions to close out options and negatively impact your future. 

There will always be the next big thing, whether that be a new car, a second house, or a glamorous vacation.  There is a lot of “eye-candy” out there and advertisements always show everybody being happy, happy, happy.  

But you don’t need these things to bring you true joy.  Taking care of yourself and your family financially, emotionally, and spiritually over the long run is what brings true joy to most people - not more “stuff!”  Focus on the financial goals you have set and decide what is most important to you. 

Save up for the experiences that matter most to you. Perhaps a vacation to visit your children, your grandchildren, an old friend or relative, or even a major donation to a charity where you can see that the money will make a difference in other people’s lives is what matters most to you (or some combination of all these).  Add those to your plan. and don’t let the next new thing make you feel as though you are missing out. Because if you stick to your plan, you will find that everything that will ultimately matter most to you will be within your reach. 

We love helping our clients reach their financial goals! What are you waiting for? Give us a call so we can learn more about you and your goals today.