Mon­ey. Fear. Like peanut but­ter and jel­ly, mon­ey and fear are com­pat­i­ble companions.

Of course mon­ey brings up feel­ings of fear.   Mon­ey is the clothes on your back and the roof over your head.  Mon­ey is the tool you use to meet your basic needs, like health care, shel­ter, food and cloth­ing as well as how you indulge.

Like a pair of pants that are too tight, fear makes you uncom­fort­able and look­ing for an out.  We try lots of things to avoid or neu­tral­ize finan­cial fear.  Those I see most often are:

  1. The Ostrich Approach
  2. Fast Action
  3. Giv­ing Away your Power
  4. Liv­ing Low

Let’s look at each one.

The Ostrostrichich Approach

A love­ly fam­i­ly vaca­tion full of laugh­ter, great meals togeth­er and new expe­ri­ences.  Back home, the cred­it card bill comes.  If you open that cred­it card bill, all those great mem­o­ries are going to be taint­ed by the size of that bill.  You didn’t mean to spend that much mon­ey.  Every­one was hav­ing such a good time.  You want to hang onto the good times, so you avoid.  And avoid some more.

Your new busi­ness is final­ly tak­ing off.  Sales are pour­ing in. You are work­ing twelve hour days. Head down, you plough ahead.  Exhaust­ed, you col­lapse into bed every night.  Then get up in the morn­ing and repeat the blind­ing pace of the day before. This is what you always hoped for.  Isn’t it? There’s just no time to think about plan­ning, bud­get­ing, and mon­i­tor­ing your expens­es or ana­lyz­ing your month­ly finan­cials and trends.  When your CPA final­ly fin­ish­es your books for the year you dis­cov­er that despite more than dou­bling your sales, you made less mon­ey this year than last year.  How could this be?

Fast Action

New baby.  Love, joy and respon­si­bil­i­ty!  Here is this sweet young thing, total­ly depen­dent orunningn you and your spouse/partner for all their needs.  In a pan­ic you think, I don’t have enough life insur­ance.  So quick like a bun­ny you are online or with your agent and get a new pol­i­cy for you and your spouse/partner.

Did you get the best insur­ance? The most cost effec­tive insur­ance?  Do you have extra mon­ey to spare so that if you over­spend for life insur­ance it doesn’t matter?

And what big­ger risk did you over­look?  Dis­abil­i­ty.  At 30 you are 4 times more like­ly to be dis­abled that to die.

Giv­ing Away your Power

Your friends all use the same finan­cial plan­ner.  Since they seem hap­py, he/she must be OK.  You make an appoint­ment for an ini­tial con­sul­ta­tion.  He/she talks in lan­guage you don’t under­stand.  The plan­ner speaks with con­fi­dence and it all sounds over­whelm­ing.  Your inner voice says, “I’ll nev­er under­stand this stuff” and “I have to trust some­body”.  He/she is as good as it gets.

Your spouse loves bud­get­ing, finance, invest­ing and pay­ing the fam­i­ly bills.  You are all too hap­py to not have to deal with mon­ey; it just isn’t your thing.  How do you get your needs met when they col­lide with your spouse’s idea of needs?  Who lis­tens to your goals, dreams and desires and fits them into your finan­cial plan?  Or even more unthink­able, what hap­pens when the mar­riage falls apart or your spouse pass­es away unexpectedly?

Liv­ing Low

For a large por­tion of my life, this was my favorite path to avoid fear.  I lived low.  You might call it fru­gal­i­ty or pen­ny pinch­ing.  It kept me finan­cial­ly safe.  I had mon­ey, cash, invest­ments and a thriv­ing busi­ness.  But it kept me from the full­ness of life.  Liv­ing low for me was such an ingrained habit that I would save for a pur­chase I real­ly want­ed, like new fur­ni­ture and then pro­cras­ti­nate mak­ing the pur­chase…. for years!

You have a great busi­ness mod­el. The best new idea since sliced bread. Like all CEO’s there are things you are good at and things you aren’t.  Those areas where you per­son­al­ly excel, pro­duc­tion, process and recruit­ment are work­ing well.  Finance and mar­ket­ing feel like black holes to you and your busi­ness shows it.  You know you need help in these areas. You inter­view lots of folks.  Stick­er shock sets in.  What if you make a poor choice?  What if you move for­ward and you don’t get the results you hoped for? You buy a few finance and mar­ket­ing books, try some things on your own.  You inch for­ward, build­ing cash and wait­ing for the per­fect moment to buy the exper­tise you so des­per­ate­ly need.

If you are hon­est with your­self, you’ve tried one or all of these strate­gies for avoid­ing finan­cial fear.  Some­times you try them a la carte and some­times they become life­long habits like liv­ing low did for me.

All of these approach­es can make you feel bet­ter in the short term, but none pro­vides a sat­is­fy­ing path to pros­per­i­ty. So what is the answer?  How do you avoid fear, estab­lish con­fi­dence and tru­ly live a life at the Inter­sec­tion of Joy and Mon­ey?

Like all impor­tant things in life, mon­ey deserves your time, atten­tion and a plan.  Before you go on a big trip, you have an itin­er­ary.  Before you build a house, you have an archi­tec­tur­al plan.  Before you get have a wed­ding, you plan all the details.

Can you go on a trip with­out an itin­er­ary?  Sure.  Can you build a house with­out a plan? If you must.  Can you have a wed­ding with­out a guest list and a venue?  I guess so. But in all these cas­es you short change the expe­ri­ence.  A trip with­out an itin­er­ary brings you home real­iz­ing the things you missed.  A house built with­out plans can, and prob­a­bly, will come crash­ing down.  And a wed­ding with­out a guest list or venue cer­tain­ly won’t give you great mem­o­ries of one of the most impor­tant days of your life.

Your life and your busi­ness are big­ger than a trip, a house or a wed­ding.  Mon­ey is how you get the things in your life that you need and want. Yet you try to live your life or run your busi­ness with­out a mon­ey plan, or finan­cial plan.

The only con­sis­tent way out of The Ostrich Approach, Fast Action, Giv­ing Away your Pow­er and Liv­ing Low is to replace these strate­gies with a sol­id com­pre­hen­sive finan­cial plan­ning approach.  Done right, this is going to cost mon­ey and time in the short run.  But like any wise invest­ment, it will pay div­i­dends for the rest of your life and the life of your business.

Here’s the catch. Buy­ing finan­cial ser­vices can be scary in and of itself.  So scary, you take The Ostrich Approach to finan­cial plan­ning.  But there is a way out!  When look­ing for finan­cial plan­ning advice, there are four secrets to buy­ing a plan that real­ly works.

Here are the four secrets:

  1. Find a plan­ner that is a coach or advo­cate. Most plan­ners set them­selves up to be a guru or expert. You want some­one who will edu­cate and empow­er you. Not make you feel intim­i­dat­ed and little.
  2. Ban­ish shame or guilt from your process. If in your ini­tial meet­ing you feel either of these, don’t engage. The past is the past.  You want a plan­ner to help you make bet­ter choic­es for your future, not one who shames you about your past choices.
  3. The plan becomes a way of liv­ing, not an event. A great plan pro­vides a con­sis­tent method­ol­o­gy that sup­ports you in mak­ing finan­cial deci­sions that work for you.  Plans that are one-time events, involv­ing big books that go on your desk, are use­less and a waste of your time and money.
  4. Wel­come your intu­ition, emo­tions and feel­ings into the plan­ning process. You don’t want to become a CFP or a PFS.  But you have a way of know­ing what is right for you.  You feel it.  You expe­ri­ence it.  Like a glove that fits, advice that is right for you, feels good.  Find a plan­ner and a process that hon­ors your truth.

Finan­cial fear is a mer­ry-go-round.  It keeps us mov­ing, going nowhere.

If you are tired of the fear mer­ry-go-round now you know what to do.  Find a finan­cial plan­ner and a plan­ning process that encom­pass­es the four secrets.  Turn all that ener­gy of fear into ener­gy to pow­er your path to prosperity.

The choice is yours; why not take the first step today?

Mon­ey can’t buy me love, but it does make the house payment!