This post is about conquering your financial FOSO, or Fear of Starting Out. Many of us struggle to start out or make progress on our financial goals because we feel like we’re already behind, or do not trust that we will be able to make the progress we need to accomplish our goals. Here, I discuss ideas for setting a realistic financial goal. Then I offer six ideas for freeing up the money you need to succeed. Stop letting fear drive your financial behavior and let’s get started!
If you’re like most Americans, you know you should have more money in savings to cover emergencies. You should also increase the amount of money you’re putting away for retirement. And you will. Next month. Probably. Or next year. But yeah, you totally will. Either after you get that raise or when your partner starts their new job. Sometime anyway, you’ll definitely get to it.
Does this sound like you? I promise, I’m not judging. Saving is hard! I’ve been there. In some ways I’m still there. But I’m working on it and I’m starting to see results from my efforts. And you can too. Let’s start by admitting though that even starting to work on your finances is actually really hard for many of us. Building smart habits around saving and investing is not easy. If it were, most of us would already be doing it.
One of the issues is that a lot of us experience what I call Financial FOSO, or Fear of Starting Out. When you read online about people with a whole year of expenses saved up, it’s hard to feel good about the itty bitty amount you have in your own emergency fund. Additionally, when you hear a co-worker (who might be even younger than you) talk about how they have a million dollars in their retirement account and will soon be able to retire early, it’s natural to react by feeling bad about what’s in your own 401(k) or IRA. When other people are just so far ahead, it’s easy to conclude, what’s the point? It’s impossible for me to get to where that person is anyway. So why even try?