Updated: Nov 5
Are you a worrier? If so, join me; I am a lifelong worrier. I worry about everything from the smallest concern (did I refrigerate the potato salad soon enough?) to the biggest (global pandemic). As a CFP®, I’ve found that for my clients, financial worries can be among the most debilitating. At best, worrying about money can keep us up at night with a churning tummy. At worst, worry about financial matters can paralyze or rush crucial decisions that may cause significant, long-term, negative consequences to our financial net worth.
Over the next few articles, we’ll explore ways you can reduce some of the financial worry that all of us normally have but that has skyrocketed during the pandemic. A favorite book of mine, How To Stop Worrying and Start Living (Dale Carnegie, 1948), has given me solace over decades of reading and re-reading. Its specific action items and hokey-but-still-inspiring personal stories certainly haven’t completely Zenned me out, but they have helped me reduce and contain my worries.
You can count on me to avoid the naïve, wide-eyed ebullience sometimes seen in financial advice. I’m no Glad-Game-playing Pollyanna, although realistic positive thinking does have its place in our lives. I am pragmatic and honest enough to tell you that a lot of this mental cheerleading stuff doesn’t work for me when I am feeling completely anguished. But these suggestions can help inveterate worriers like you and me to some extent. Let’s try together!
Carnegie’s general tips to mitigate worry are listed here, and each has financial relevancy, which we’ll discuss briefly below and in detail in future posts. The gist of Carnegie’s advice on How To Stop Worrying and Start Living:
2. Think about today more than yesterday or tomorrow
3. Fight worry as a health habit similar to eating well and exercising
4. Put a “stop-loss on your worries”
5. Try to keep a big picture outlook
6. No wasting time and energy on things you can’t change
7. Physically “do stuff” to keep busy
8. Use evidence and statistics to evaluate outcomes, then accept the possible “worst”
9. Make decisions and act on them
10. Be grateful for and aware of the good in your life
11. Pretend things are better than they are
12. Refuse to seek revenge
13. Build anyway, even if things are torn down
14. That proverbial lemonade from lemons…
15. Focus on and help others in an outward-directed way
16. Accept that some things just “are,” and you can’t change them
17. Believe in something larger than yourself
18. Learn from the “fool things you have done”
19. Look for the positive or (at least the funny) side
20. Sleep more; relax often (sorry, “relax” isn’t a synonym for “have a drink”!)
21. Accept the inevitable faults and shortcomings of others
Specific applications we’ll cover in detail in future posts from How To Stop Worrying and Start Living for your financial success:
We’ll cover each of these concepts in subsequent articles. Thank you for joining me.
Note: You can access and read “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” by Dale Carnegie for free at Archives.org. The original 1913“Pollyanna” book by Eleanor H. Porter can be read here; the Mary Pickford movie version is here, and the Disney trailer for its 1960 version is here.
Kathryn Hauer, a Certified Financial Planner ™, adjunct professor, and financial literacy educator has written numerous articles and several books, including the “11-Step, DIY, Comprehensive Financial Plan Workbook” and “Financial Advice for Blue Collar America.” She works to help clients and readers understand and act on complex financial information to keep them and their money safe. She functions as a strong advocate and guiding light for her clients as they move through murky and unfamiliar financial and career worlds. Read more on her website.