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Dealing With Fear in Everyday Finance

I used to think people that were workaholics were just really crazy. I mean, who wants to work 12 hour days so they can have a nice BMW and a big house that they can’t really enjoy, right? Not me, to be sure, but there are plenty of reasons people work their tails off that are a lot more noble. Supporting your family, for example, may require long hours and grueling work, and while it sucks to be placed into that scenario, nothing is going to make you stop and give it up. You just keep on keeping on, hopefully with an exit strategy in mind for the day that you get things under control or bring your expenses down enough that a soul-sucking work-life balance is no longer a required part of your existence.

For me, working more is for something I have been doing for reasons that are far more pragmatic. My roof is getting looked at tomorrow, as I suspect there may be a small leak in the flashings (I never knew what that term meant until I bought a house) around the chimney. After purchasing my house my emergency fund isn’t where I’d like it to be. This triggers a sort of fear waterfall. What if I don’t have enough to fix it? What if the small leak turns out to be catastrophically bad and the whole roof needs to be replaced? Where is the money going to come from if the emergency fund can’t cover it?


I know it isn’t rational to think this way, but fear, as they say, is a powerful motivator. I’ll do whatever I have to do and we’ll get the problem resolved. As such, I find myself working harder and hitting the ground running a lot more often when the pressure gets turned up. I strive for security, much as I’m sure we all do, and I’m willing to put in extra hours to get it. My situation is even easier than most, as we have a small, modest house and only one car, so I’d wager that fear is amplified when you have the fate of more people or more assets hanging in the balance. Ultimately, the goal should be sleeping well at night, knowing that while you can’t possibly cover every financial catastrophe the universe may have in store for you, you’ll feel better knowing that most are under control.

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