Friday, October 25, 2013

We Suck at Tackling Things That Scare Us

And a lot of the time, things that mystify us scare us.

Money and finances are among the most important things in our lives as they do affect access to safety, health, comfort, and happiness. But partially because of the importance of the matter, and largely because of the massive amounts of things to know we tend to shy away in a typical information overload paralysis fashion and a lot of people just stuff their heads in the sand and continue to make crappy decisions.

Our relationships with money are often somewhat similar to struggles with food and weight.
  • Crazy, overwhelming piles of often conflicting information and advice in a deep internet vortex leading to hours and hours of research, winding up completely confused, and then saying, "Forget it." and doing nothing because you don't know which advice to take and it seems like everyone is out to scam you.
  • Remember when Fat Bastard said, "I eat 'cause I'm fat and I'm fat 'cause I eat."? We do this with money sometimes. I perceive myself to be poor so I'm sad so I spend.
  • To attain our goals, both require short-term sacrifice in the name of long-term gain.
  • It's highly emotional and therefore a lot of our reactions are pretty irrational.
  • To some extent, our appetites are just naturally different. Some people really couldn't care less about stuff while others lust after the newest, best, shiniest, and it really does occupy their thoughts. The minimalist is sometimes no more making a statement than the consumer and neither person is necessarily better than the other - just different.
I've watched a lot of really smart people make some pretty big money mistakes. They range from raiding an already underfunded 401k at age 45+ for a child's college to refusing to shop the grocery store loss-leaders and instead buying spaghetti and pasta sauce at 7-11. All the time. For the vast majority of meals.

Find a place to start and dive in. If it wasn't the exact right thing, at least now you know one thing that doesn't work.

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