Question: I have been through a lot of tragedy in my life. My problem is I am frozen with fear, so much so that I have not spent money I have on basic necessities. I am just afraid of making mistakes spending. Would a life plan help in my situation?
Answer: You may need both a plan and a person.
First, my heart goes out to you. I hate to hear that anyone has endured tragedy in their life.
But there comes a time that you must move on and live your life. Moving on doesn’t mean your love for a lost one has decreased or that you are being disloyal to them. It just means that you are refusing to allow tragedy to claim another victim – you.
Fear is most profound when its object is amorphous and murky. In a dark environment it is free to grow and spread into regions of your life where it has no business being.
Fear is a paralyzing cancer, robbing you of today’s joys and tomorrow’s opportunities.
Let’s not let the sadness or injustice of things in your past rob you of the joy that you might experience today or tomorrow.
Often the reality is that it isn’t really the thing you are afraid of (can you even name the thing?) that is your problem. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt said years ago, “the only thing we have to fear is FEAR itself.”
Here are a few thoughts that might help you deal with you fear:
1. Find a supportive person to comfort you when you experience fear. We all need that person to whom we can be real, let down our guard and admit our deepest fears. This person serves to give you comfort, companionship and sympathy in your journey.
2. Find an objective person to help you understand your fear. This person is very likely not the same person who fills the role of #1. You need someone who can help you identify what is real and what is just a phantom.
3. Collaborate on a plan to overcome your fear. You will likely need person #1 and person #2 to actually pull this off. If you have a financial advisor, consider if that person can help you with role #2.
The plan needs to identify the actions you need to take to move beyond your fear to get to the place you really want to be. For example, suppose you need to do some basic home repairs to get your home in working order so you can enjoy it. Part of your plan to overcome fear needs to include an analysis of whether you have the money to do this now, or if you need to put it off until later. And if later, exactly when. It sounds like you could actually get started now (at least to some degree), but you are frozen by fear and unable to make a move.
The plan, along with your supportive person and your objective person, can help you get there.
But what if you are so stuck with fear that you cannot even imagine taking these simple three steps (above)?
Then do this ONE thing – find a supportive person. In fact, I’ll bet you already have that person in your life. It may be a friend, co-worker or relative. They do not have to be perfect – just supportive.
Go to them and read this column with them and ask them what they think. Will they help you? Will they help you find person #2 (the objective person)? Will they hold your hand through this process?
I’m betting they will – because that’s who they are – a supportive person!
Now, I also think that, if you will take that one step of enlisting one supportive person to help walk you through steps 2 and 3, you’ll get there. You’ll build that plan to overcome your fear and you’ll find yourself healthier, happier and living the life you so richly deserve.
When you get there – when you’ve experienced the joy of your plan for overcoming fear having worked – I want you to make me a promise. I want you to become someone else’s supportive person. There’s no greater joy than being able to pay forward something that’s been done for you.
See you on the other side of your fear.
Byron R. Moore, CFP® is managing director / planning group of Argent Advisors, Inc. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Write to him at 500 East Reynolds Drive, Ruston, LA 71270 or call him at (318) 251-5800. The opinions of any single advisor do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Argent Advisors, Inc.No forecasts can be guaranteed. Argent Advisors, Inc. does not offer tax, insurance or legal advice. The information contained in this column should not be construed as a substitute for personalized investment, tax, insurance or legal advice.