I was talking to a friend yesterday and we somehow arrived on the subject of how many of us, women especially, suffer anxiety over our finances. This can happen whether we are financially sound (earning a good salary, meeting our financial obligations, have money in the bank), or if we are in a tenuous financial situation (whether it be death of a spouse or partner, divorce, job changes, etc.).

At this very moment I have several clients who are working well into their seventies and continuing to save, not because they “need” to in order to survive, but because they have this same anxiety. The extent of their assets in addition to the insurance and estate planning they have done would make it very difficult for them to ever spend what they’ve accumulated.

So, this question resonated with me. “What would it take to become financially fearless?” And not just finances, but about the future, retirement goals, savings – whatever it is that makes you fearful.

Let’s try an experiment. Take one minute to think about this and identify some situations or possibilities that make you fearful. Here are some guiding questions:

  • What do you want your future to look like?
  • What would a perfect retirement look like for you?
  • Are you concerned that you will not have the necessary funds to make this a reality?
  • What situation or occurrence do you need in order to be “fearless”?

Then, write down your thoughts. Seeing something in writing makes it “real” in my mind. Once it’s written down, share it – with a partner, friend, or your financial advisor. This adds a layer of accountability; if there is someone watching out for you and following up to help you celebrate your successes and work with you to get you back on track if you have a “hiccup.” With this help, you are more likely to stay on-track to success.

Once you’ve established your goals, or list of accomplishments that you need to allow you to become “fearless” – get some help to make them happen.  A good financial advisor will discuss your goals and help you establish a timeline, as well as offer suggestions regarding appropriate strategies and investment and insurance products to use to help you achieve those goals.

Identifying what keeps you awake in the wee hours (your fears) and then creating a plan to address those issues (thus becoming fearless) is a great place to start. Whether it be a financial challenge, a physical goal (maybe a 5K or another fitness endeavor), or a personal goal (why not start a healthy eating plan – it’s only March!?!) having a plan is essential. Plans provide a place to start, and if you get detoured it gives you a map to get back on the road.