Anxiety and financial responsibility can go hand-in-hand until we feel powerfully able to provide for ourselves. My life is an example of this presently. It frightens me to death to think of having to support myself financially, without any help from anyone else. I have never done it. From birth to 38 years old I had someone else make sure my bills were paid, my parents or a husband were my resources. I worked teen jobs as most of us did - a burger joint or two, retail, babysitting. But that was pocket money. I didn’t have to pay for college, accrued no loans and accumulated no debt. I married right after I received my first college degree and became a housewife (no children for awhile). In fact I married and divorced two times until, briefly single, I finally began to attempt to support myself. Child support payments and a part time job as a companion to my grandparents began my experience of being somewhat financially independent.
This time of my life was both scary and exhilarating. I made ends meet, but just barely. As things got tighter and credit card bills became harder to pay I noticed anxiety making it‘s presence known more loudly than ever before. Combined with the onset of menopause, anxiety blossomed like a flower, and not one that smelled the least bit sweet. I had to ask for financial help but it didn’t feel like a big deal. I was comfortable letting myself be helped by others.
I was never afraid to be physically alone, without someone by my side. I was never afraid I wouldn’t have a life for myself when my daughter left. I always knew I would have friends to confide in. But I was anxiety ridden over having to make the money I needed to keep a roof over my head and food on the table. I was scared I would lose it all and be homeless. I just wasn’t prepared to take care of myself financially. No one told me that financial independence might be my responsibility one day. No one warned me that my career choices might cause me a problem because they might not provide enough to pay the bills. I had no plan because I was never warned that I would need one.
Many of the wise financial gurus of today recommend people have a savings account, at least one retirement fund, an extra 3, 6, or 9 months of salary stashed away in case we find ourselves out of work. At 57 years old I am beginning where someone who just graduated from college might start. Wow this is scary!
Financial anxiety is torturous. It has triggered all my worst nightmares. How did I let myself get to this point? Why did I bury my head? And what could possibly be the lesson in all this?
As I have shared in previous writings, for me anxiety paralyzes. If I become paralyzed then it becomes hard to do what is necessary to begin to build financial security. Believing in myself and that financial independence is possible comes first. Believing this is hard to do when I am stuck in fear.
What I have learned through all of this is to use the tools I have acquired and use to help my clients. The other important step for me has been to ask for wisdom and ideas from people who are financially successful - find out how they got there.
As I now put these tools into action I am finding moments of calm. It is easier to shift my thinking from lack to abundance. But it does take persistence and patience. Old habits and behavior/response patterns don’t always let go easily.
What really excites me is that it is never too late to change. Life is an adventure! We truly never know what is around the next corner!!! My anxiety around becoming financially independent eases as I remember to send myself positive messages every day about what I want to create in my future.