How to Not Worry About Money – Reader’s Take

by David Ning · 38 comments

One of the great side benefit of not being a salesperson who is on the plane way too often is that I have more time to talk to my parents over the phone. Yesterday, a question came up that affects almost all of us who weren’t born into eventually inheriting Exxon Mobil – How to not worry about money?

Under all guidelines and measures, my finances are very solid. I’m debt free, I live below my means, my emergency fund is already setup and in some respects, my business is actually more stable than most people’s jobs. Furthermore, Emma’s salary more than covers for the family’s monthly expenses. Pretty fail proof it seems.

Yet, I still sometimes worry about money.

I’m concerned that having kids (something my wife and I definitely want to do) will increase our living costs, and I worry that the house we buy will likely add financial stress in our lives (remember, we are in an one-bedroom apartment right now so the house we purchase will likely be bigger).

After a lengthy discussion and some more thoughts into the matter, below are a couple areas that can help me (and possibly you) reduce the worry for money.

  1. Realize that It’s Exaggerated – Worry is a funny feeling – it seems to exaggerate any problem. While there are certainly many people who actually run out of money, those are usually not the people that tend to worry.

    Spend the Same Time Making Money Instead – If you are going to spend time worrying about money, why not use that time and get a side job instead? Maybe start a website (or two, or three). I know it’s easier said than done, but the more you work at it, the easier it gets.

  2. Confidence – Part of the reason why we worry about money is because of the lack of confidence in our own abilities to earn an income. How can we boost our confidence you ask? Confidence comes from success, and success starts from taking action. So try a few things. Learn from it and try again.
  3. The workplace plays a big role in all this as well. Are your colleagues encouraging? Is your boss supportive? If not, then do something about it. Don’t get into the thinking of “I can’t find another job”. Yes you can. If you got this job, you can get another one.
  4. Worrying is Actually Good – A little worrying is actually healthy for us. It’s what drives us to be better. It’s what turns our energy switch to the on position. The right way to deal with it is to channel it into your work ethic, and your desire to be better.

How Do You Deal with It?

Of course, what I listed are just a tip of the iceberg. How do you deal with worrying about the lack of money? Or do you? What has worked for you? Let us know.

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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Vikas Bhatia June 11, 2009 at 7:07 am

Other ways you can add confidence is also having an emergency fund, knowing that you don’t need to spend much because you live frugally etc.

The other way I not worry is because I focus so much on how to save and make more that I don’t have time to worry. It’s weird but I really don’t worry too much.

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meinmillions June 11, 2009 at 7:21 am

I started blogging about my anxiety around money. It gives me an outlet to vent. It also gives me reassuance that I’m on the right track. Sometimes reading all of the PF blogs makes me worry, but other times it teaches me new things and makes me feel better. It’s hard to tell. Right now I feel like I am taking control of my financial destiny and that helps too.

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Mac June 11, 2009 at 10:10 am

like the song says, don’t worry, be happy.

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marci June 11, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Keep reading and learning about money and how to make the money you have make more money for you.

I never worry about making more money – nope – don’t want more.
What I do instead is find creative ways to get by without spending any money…. that’s what jingles my bells :) The more I do for myself, the less money I need to spend, therefore the less I need to earn, therefore the less I need to work…. equals a semi-retired life 10 years early :)

Once your house is paid for it takes very very little to actually get by.

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lifeisdynamic January 25, 2012 at 4:58 am

Marcie,
How right you are. Of course, I can say that now, with hindsight and maturity.
My children are adults and my husband deceased and its just me, my home and my career.
I now organise my work life around my personal life. Instead of the other way around. I can work extra shifts if I wish/need to or I can work for another employer on a casual basis if it suits me or I need extra income for those harder times to pay larger household bills (it is a desperate day indeed if I sacrifice saving every fortnight to pay bills – I really think laterally to avoid using my savings at those odd times).

I work part-time in a professional capacity after completing a degree at 50yrs of age and after my husband died. My mortgage is almost paid. I am saving an average 65% of my income and I have retirement super (sadly less than $100K). I am frugal although not mean in my spending and I support my children in easing their lives in some financial way from time to time (encouraging them to use money wisely while not becoming dependant on support regularly). In reality I am proud to say they are mostly independant of my help. I would like to be proud to say I will be independant in my retirement – although I sometimes doubt it.

What I can say is that in the past 5 years the reality of retirement looming shocked me. I had no independant income or savings and was living from a meagre widow’s pension which did not keep pace with inflation. Since then I have achieved a degree; been working mostly part-time and managed to save several thousand dollars; improved my home to improve its value; made a few necessary purchases including a near new vehicle; helped my children get on their feet with deposits for their own homes and I have been continually tweeking my finances to ensure I get maximum value.

Sometimes I forget how fortunate I am. Money is not everything – most of us know that – but it helps to provide securtiy. Isn’t that what we all want so as we can relax and enjoy our lives with the people we care most about?

Yes, I do more for myself too (what I am capable of anyway) and that means I save money, but it means I do need to work less to achieve that end – so yes, semi retirement 10 years earlier than many others.

Of course, it is ‘horses for courses’ many do not want to labour for themselves, so they need to have an income to pay others. Thats fine, because it provides an income for someone else to attain their dreams too.

Helping others in some way, such as a charity or an Aid organisation means so much in terms of a healthy life for others and takes just a little of your income. It is a win:win for you the donor also, as it gives you a health boost knowing it is helping others.

I still have a way to go to attain my goals – makes life worth living to be striving for something and seeing it get closer.

2014 will be the year of my dream holiday – part of the savings goal and I will be having fun finding the best deals in the meantime.

Millions $’s – who wants the worry and the hard work attached to keeping it! One Mill. is enough to earn an income from for one person if invested wisely. I doubt I will have that amount of money in my lifetime.
Hope my story inspires someone, as others have for me on moneyning.com

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Fred Cash June 11, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Money comes and goes and in fact my mother-in-law says it best when she says “sometimes you have money, and sometimes you don’t”. I think this is a good way of looking at it and even people who make good money seem to get into situations where money is tight, and even people who don’t have a lot of money seem to happy at times. It’s just means that people who get caught up on money issues all the time are just spinning their wheels and stressing for things that they usually don’t have any control over. As the deceased Christopher Wallace (Notorious BIG) would say, ‘”Mo money, mo problems”.

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MoneyStreetSmart March 29, 2013 at 7:28 am

Fred Cash, I have to agree. Money comes, and money goes. Money is for spending, and money is for saving. I think it ultimately comes down to being smart, and balance. Do what you need to do to be where you want to be. Some cities cost more to live in than others, different hobbies and interests fluctuate in costs, children cost money, so do cars. It is up to each individual to make the best financial decisions based on YOUR best interests. Be smart and make good decisions is my best piece of advice.

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Steve |MyWifeQuitHerJob June 11, 2009 at 3:24 pm

Hey David

Were you reading my mind last night? This article and the one I just published carry the exact same message (though they are written in a different tone). It’s all about building confidence in yourself.

Cheers,
Steve

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Best Savings Account Girl June 11, 2009 at 5:26 pm

You can always meditate if you feel like you’re overwhelmed.

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Debbie Lacy, MoneyMindful June 12, 2009 at 7:44 am

I’ve learned that the more personal power I assert in my relationship with money, the less worry & anxiety I have about my finances. Pinpoint exactly what you’re worrying about and then ask: Is there anything I’m doing or NOT doing that’s contributing to my worries? If so, take one small action step to put yourself in the driver’s seat in a positive way.

Avoidance, denial, inaction… these all feed the worry monster.

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JerryB June 13, 2009 at 7:01 am

It’s comforting to know that I control my finances and they don’t control me.

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DDFD @ DivorcedDadFrugalDad June 16, 2009 at 6:28 am

You have layed a great foundation . . . adding kids into the mix will require adjustments, but you should transition better than most I suspect.

A little worry never hurt anyone– it keeps you on your toes.

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Melanie June 16, 2009 at 9:43 am

The main thing that helps me to stop worrying is to create a budget and track every thing that i spend, including the planned spending events (insurance, tax bill, etc).
Sometimes i worry because i’m speculating about how much money things are costing or how much will be left at the end of the month, but if I can take a solid hour and sit down and look at where our accounts are situated and what we are planning on doing, i feel much better.
having a plan is crucial.

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Jewelsmom February 3, 2011 at 1:06 pm

My husband and I both work and we have an equitable distribution of bills between us. I have a budget set up month by month for the calendar year for my portion of the bills. We maintain separate checking and savings accounts.

I don’t worry about money when things are on automatic pilot.

“Pay yourself first” means I’ve requested my employer sends a set dollar amount to my savings account automatically, and the rest to my checking account for my monthly expenses. I don’t see it, I don’t spend it.

My bank mails out a majority of my bills for me [without charge for the service or the stamp]. Some bills are the same every month (e.g., the cable/internet service or budget pay option for my utilities means my bill are the same every month for 12 mo. based on the previous 12 mo. cycle) while others are not, so I have to enter them monthly or modify the amount based on the amount due when the bill arrives in the mail. This only takes a few minutes a week to maintain.

The flexible spending account {FSA} I signed up for through my employer ensures I have pre-tax dollars set aside for medical, dental and eye bill co-pays and deductibles. The debit card for use to pay these expenses comes with the program and couldn’t be more convenient.

Having tools to manage my financial commitments helps me to not worry about money.

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Robin Poulin July 30, 2009 at 11:37 am

These are all great ways to not worry. Worry only comes when you don’t know what the situation is or when you’re not prepared for it.
So, like Melanie, I track my spending and have made a plan for what I want to do with my money. I use a budgeting program my husband created for this very reason. Money and debt really scared me when we first got married so my husband created CalendarBudget which gave me peace of mind. Now there’s no question of how much money I have and I can see that and plan ahead to avoid debt for bills or big purchases. Now there’s no fear/worries. I can with confidence make a decision on a purchase and know it’s not going to put me in debt or if it is delay it/don’t do it.
Thanks for the ideas David and commenters. I think I need to try the meditation more too.

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Doonavon September 10, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Another way to look at it is to calculate your expenses and income / bonuses / per month and chart out on a monthly basis how much you have left. that will trigger something in you to see your financial health. And then your internal engines will automatically work at increasing the balance per month figure because you want to be FREE.

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physcodog July 15, 2010 at 10:57 am

Sometimes conversation forums like this can help relieve any anxiety about money. Talking to like minded individuals makes me feel better at least. Money makes the world go round so why not think about from time to time.

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the cash doc July 21, 2010 at 7:52 pm

Within my marriage i worry a lot financially. I have a good job but I don’t know how to budget. I’m a one day millionaire and spend my earnings as soon as I can, which I know is not ultimately good for me or my partner. After 3 weeks I get so edgy because I don’t have money anymore.Through reading about budgeting and some tips for success financially I have learnt to become a little more wise with my money. Worrying too much on finances won’t really help. It only makes me angry at myself and prevents me from sleeping soundly at night. I still worry nowadays alright but my budget has helped me minimise it. Whenever I have the urge, I read a book or surf the net. Keeping my mind busy on stuff that I really enjoy will just wear it off. Plus, time flies when I’m having fun.

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Jewelsmom February 3, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Good luck The Cash Doc. You are on the right path.

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Sean Browne October 8, 2010 at 11:31 am

I try not to worry about money too much, but sometimes I find myself in a position where I’m asking myself what I can do to improve my life? Money always seems to be one of the top answers in my head, it creates stability, comfort, peace of mind. but the one thing that makes me worry is getting too comfortable with my expenses and my cash flow. Sometimes when I have enough money to survive for a while, I tend to get way too comfortable and I find myself months down the line worrying about making more money to get back into my comfort zone.

It’s good to stay on the ball, and I agree with putting the energy into making money instead of worrying about it.

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Tim December 19, 2010 at 9:11 am

Luke 12:27-28…
Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Money is a false god, put your faith not in money but in the one true god, have faith that he will provide for you.

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Gringa May 1, 2012 at 11:14 am

I save money and sanity by not going to church or tithing.

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Paula February 13, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Thanks Tim. I appreciate this. I am in a difficult place in this stage of life. 65 years old. No house. Was forced into a nasty divorce after MANY years. Lousy attorney. Now with health problems and on disability/SS.
I have to continue to remind myself that I am not in charge. I will be cared for and protected. The Great Healer has cared for me all of my life and He will continue. Worry does not solve my problems, only complicates my health.
Again, thank you.

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Glenwood Johnson Jr January 30, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Having an emergency fund is key. Or whichever nomenclature is best for you. I believe in self-fulfilling prophecies, so rather than think of it as a ‘rainy-day’ fund (thus creating more rainy days), I look at it as a ‘never have to worry’ fund. Having that in place helps keep poise and posture in-tact during these trying times AND working with co-workers always consumed by what they don’t have, saying they’re not trying to ‘keep up with the Joneses’, while words and actions say they DO try just that. And let’s face it, $$ isn’t everything, yet without a passive income stream, most of us are working for it.

Lastly, I learned to pay myself FIRST. 401k, online savings account, and an accessible spare cash are taken care of FIRST. Maslow gets it’s needs met, of course (food, clothing, shelter). After that, I pay for mine own peace of mind.

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Cert February 10, 2011 at 10:47 am

I think the author of this article has the right frame of thoughts.
As I understand his situation is that of a 2 earner family living in a One bedroom apartment with no kids. He expects to buy a house and have kids.
However, I don’t think he has a clue of what he will face when he does the above. For him and Emma to be working he has to send kids to day care and pay mortgage. That would effectively wipe out more than one person’s income. Plus we are talking about the expenses kids will bring to the financial situation. If one of them loses the job he will be in the red faster than he can say “red”. I think he needs to be more pessimistic of what the future holds. Remember, worrying about money makes you proactively frugal.

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Doug Phan February 23, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Very nice and enlightening info. Yeah no one wants to worry about money and that’s why need to be looking for smart deals like this one.

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Witty Artist April 19, 2011 at 6:34 am

I say we worry about money all the time; either we have lots of it or just a few.
I liked what you’ve said about confidence. That’s the key to succeed in everything we undertake. Plus an optimistic view of the things. And instead of keeping our mind paralyzed with fear and impossibility, focusing on solutions and making attempts would be of greater help.

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josh May 23, 2011 at 5:47 am

if you say you are already frugal…. consider buying a taxdeed sale home rather than a traditional mortgaged home. You may have to compromise a little on location and quality. But the money you could save on rent and mortgage payments will be totally worth it.

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richard August 7, 2011 at 11:34 am

I took my 17 year old vehicle to the dealership for minor repairs recently.
I have been very good about keeping up with oil changes , transmission service and so on.
The old pickup truck looks very much like “the truck your dad drives” when compared to the sleek new ones on the showroom floor.
The sharks were circling.
They had a million and one reasons as to why I was going to be a more happy person with a brand new large status symbol pickup.
I asked for a calculator.
you’d think that I had asked for moon rocks.
possessing a calculator at an auto dealership is like a cross in the face of a vampire.
after putting it down on paper, I was able to show them(and my 12 year old) that every year this old vehicle gets more and more cheap to register,insure,keep running,
plus its paid for.
it has a little 6 cylinder motor that runs all week on a tank of fuel with enough left for A road trip on Saturday.
it is not a big Macho road warrior that has giant expensive tires and a motor that can tow things that I will never own anyway.
so my child got a real life lesson in living within one’s means, as i check mated those sharks time and again.
we drove home in my little truck with the comfort in knowing that the big end of summer road trip was going to be a mechanically free event for all of my family.

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American Debt Project January 8, 2012 at 4:02 pm

I love knowing I’m not the only one who’s worrying! I definitely tend to over-worry in all aspects of my life, not just money, and I am working on changing that. For example, this past week, I was taking a test which would earn me a great new credential for my work. I kept planning to fail and was already thinking of when I would reschedule the test. But I went in the test, took my time and remembered all the hours of studying I put in. I passed! It felt so great and I don’t know why I nearly choked myself with worry. I do the same with my bills every month. I am learning that that is not productive. Besides my blog, I’m working on a few new income streams, and that’s a lot more fun than worrying about money!

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Sean H January 24, 2012 at 11:23 pm

I like a lot of this article; also glad that you are interested in how we deal with this stress? First off, my belief is that my belief and the power to enjoy money come from God. If you dust off the Bible and read Ecclesiastes 5:19 it clearly says, “Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil- this is the gift of God.” The whole theme of Ecclesiastes 5 is this:

The more you have, the more you want. The more you want, the more you spend. The more you spend, the more you need. The more you need, the more you have to have.

Give up your worry by living with gratitude.

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Find Business Partners June 29, 2012 at 2:28 pm

When it comes to worrying, find comfort in Matthew 6:27.
27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life. New International Version.

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coupon July 31, 2012 at 11:27 am

I like a part about a workplace. Unfortunately, if you work for someone, you just taking one day at the time and there is no tomorrow.

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Tye August 19, 2012 at 6:44 am

I learnt very early on in my life, that I had to deal with such mental stress daily and possessed no financial security, until and unless I was my own boss. So I went about attaining such a position. It brought on many new tensions but saved me from even more, and brought about much more security and freedom. Thankfully, I played the cards as they should have been played and my business moves paid off very nicely in those years. 20-22% was the minimum net gain I remember achieving. I spent close to 3-5% of my earnings yearly so the rest was invested/savings. 5 years on, the value increase was nearly 3.5x.

I was a good spender when I wanted to be and a good saver too, if I wanted. In fact, I was too extreme in both regards when I tried, and never “just right” in the middle where the low lying fruit hung. This was problematic. But my spending side wasn’t of ill nature, it was the compassion I had for others that got the better of me. There’s been thousands of instances but to give a typical example; earning £800 per week, I gave £740 away in aid and assistance to the needy every week for a full year.

I once reached a stage in life where I had to decide how much of of the money was enough for me. 50k? 100k? 500k? 1mill? 10mill? 100mill? I was blessed with high income from many avenues and it was increasing in large amounts daily – I had the tricks of the game spot on. Daily procrastination made it only get worse. Whenever I had reached a zing figure moment that sounded better than Biblical truths, more doubts, ifs and worries made it sound retarded a few minutes to hours later. After many years, I realized. There was no such golden figure – humans have an innate weakness to greed that they must try to curb willingly (intelligence). What defined enough? Whatever the insatiable greed that you can trick your mind in to justifying. “Mans belly is never full until it becomes full of soil” rang true to the tee.

So I stuck to £15k PA, and lived on that in the UK and EU. I am working towards the £20-25k mark for a few necessities, but realistically, I don’t care about money any more than the need for it to be. It’s a tool that helps if earned and used moderately, legitimately and wisely.

Immoderation seems to be the key to destruction in most lifely spheres. So a little is also very good for the balance and vigor it brings as a result.

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BookIt.com Reviews October 12, 2012 at 11:49 am

I always look for good deals and save a dollar whenever I can. I try not to worry about money because things always seem to work out in the end. that doesn’t mean I don’t think about it and plan but I never get into tight situations.

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Jim November 3, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Slow and steady wins the race

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Richy W October 9, 2013 at 7:04 am

It is October 2013 when the US government is threatening to mess up the world.
I am a retired 75 year old. My wife is 64.
I have reached the stage where my pension (close on the average wage) is not fully covering the necessary bills. ‘Necessary’ includes all from utilities to council tax and food, plus some pocket money for low cost pleasures such as a weekly game of snooker or bowls.
We live in a modest house which is mortgage free but will need maintenance over time.
How do couples live on less than £20k? It is a mystery to me.
Without ending up with having nothing to do, I cannot see where I can save any more on rapidly rising costs. I have sold a motor-scooter and a little sail boat that I used to enjoy. I have cut my cloth as best I can. I now budget and record spending monthly. It often ends with an overspend though I now live as frugally as I know how.
In a planning exercise I projected our finances up to my 90th year, taking the shortfall on budget from savings and a small inheritance totalling c. £100k. Taking inflation at 3% average and earnings from investments at a hoped for 4% (but not in these times) shows that we will run out of money before I reach 88. My wife has only a state pension and £50k savings. I worry that she will need to be looked after by her kids when I go. I worry that she still wants to travel (not budgeted). She wants to enjoy life and spend her own small income on grandchildren and visits. She tells me to enjoy my life and stop worrying. “We have plenty” she says.
I know that we do not and am tempted to invest in share funds, but know these are a risk.
I need to get a new (small) car since mine is 16 years old at 43000 miles and getting too expensive to maintain. I cannot bring myself to get one since I worry that it will reduce my ‘pot’. We live where a car is necessary.
I wake each morning and can think of nothing else. This is bad for my relationship, health, mental well-being and mood. I cannot stop trying to think of ways to make a few quid – but at 75?
I should of course have planned better earlier but had 2 previous relationships that went wrong and cost me both in money and mental health.
I have gone from being a happy and generous person to a miserable miserly old man.
This is making me feel hopeless and miserable which is not nice for others around me.
I had prostate cancer diagnosed last year which does little to help. I know that this will probably end badly and painfully.
OK I made this bed, but if anyone out there can offer helpful words, I shall be grateful. Being told to “Get a grip” is not what I need. Believe me I tried.

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Sid July 11, 2014 at 10:35 pm

Dear Richy,
I just read your post. You said, ” Of I should have planned better.” You were busy
living your life …not thinking about how you would manage when you got sick.
I didn’t plan to get sick either. If I could go back in time the knowledge that I would have to Plan for what is happening to me now, I won’t have enjoyed that time. I wasn’t sitting around with a calandar & calculator . You were dealt a hand no one ” Plans ” for. I know, for myself…don’t care , but , like you, I worry about others.I am trying not to beat myself up about what I had no control over. Who ever told you to Get a Grip ….that wasn’t just Useless, it was thoughtless & that is the problem. People want to help but they don’t know what to say except something like ” get a grip ” don’t worry. I”ve heard the same & all it did was frustrate & belittle my feelings . They haven’t a F–King Clue. You said:
” OK I made this bed…”
Ok, I see that you have. At 75 you have :
A younger woman who loves you very much
friends to play snooker or bowls with
and you have them because your a good friend, a generous man , a loving husband.
The best I have been able to do is to : Treat myself as kindly as I wish to be treated. I try.

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