Money: How to Stop Worrying About It and Start Making It

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:

1. Overview

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