Office of Student Financial Success

Ways to Overcome the 5 Most Common Financial Fears

Trick or treating youngsters, frightening monster costumes, cackling witches and glowing jack-o-lanterns…. Boooo! It must be Halloween! Grab your closest friends and head on out to the nearest haunted house in town, it’s going to be a scary night! But the scare doesn’t stop after October 31. One specific kind of fear can come around all year long…

It’s money fear! Financial worries are common, and they often hold us back from accomplishing our goals. But they don’t have to! Here are some of the most common money fears and ways to overcome them.

Fear: I don’t make enough to do everything I need/want to do.

Solution: Make a list of things that are most important to you and prioritize them. Do you need to get current with your bills? Buy a more reliable car? Start to save for Christmas, retirement or a dream vacation? Whatever is at the top of your list, focus your money and energy on it rather than attacking everything at once. Trying to do everything all at once will almost never result in success, no matter how much money you have. Focusing on one thing at a time helps you accomplish your goals, experience a win, and push fear out the door.

Fear: I’m one emergency away from big money trouble.

Solution: If you find yourself holding your breath every time you start your car, an emergency fund will provide some much-needed relief. Before you start working to pay down your debt, set aside $1,000 for emergencies. Then, once you’ve paid down your debt, save up three to six months of expenses in an emergency fund. By having this money buffer, you’ll be able to sleep better knowing that if something does come up, you’ll be able to cover it. You can’t predict what life will throw at you, but you can control what you throw back!

Fear: I don’t have money saved for college, and I’ll need to take out student loans.

Solution: Americans owe a combined $1.2 trillion on student loans. Does that mean loans are the only way to pay for college? Nope! Look a little closer, and you’ll find all sorts of methods to pay for college without debt. Going after scholarships, attending an in-state public school, and working part-time during the semester are just a few ideas. Thinking outside the box makes paying for college a lot easier, and definitely doable without loans. And as always, you can make an appointment to speak to one of our counselors regarding funding your education!

Fear: I’ll always be in debt.

Solution: No you won’t! When you’re fired up about living on a budget, working an extra job, or selling things for extra money, your debt is the one that will be scared. You don’t have to win the lottery to accomplish big goals like this. Make a plan, attack your debts one at a time, and it will happen.

Fear: I’ll have to work forever because I don’t have enough for retirement.

Solution: Retirement is in your control. Make room in your budget for retirement by getting out of debt, building up an emergency fund, then attacking your long-term savings with everything you’ve got. You’ll be awed at the contributions you can make to your retirement fund when you have no monthly debt payments and you can focus a portion of your income toward your future savings. While retirement savings may feel like a ways off for most students, just remember to contribute as soon as you’re employed and take advantage of an employer match if you have one. Contributing at an early age can be the difference between having a million dollars after retirement or significantly less regardless of how much you save at an older age.

When money fears spook you, they can cause you to avoid addressing these issues. But never fear! Whether you’re worried about retirement, emergencies or missing the chance to enjoy life, creating a budget allows you to face your fears one by one so that you can live more and worry less. Try it and you’ll see that once you put money in its place, there is nothing to fear!