I can’t afford it. That’s expensive. I’ve never spent that much money before. I can’t justify that! I’ve said it, I’m sure you have too but are these statements even true? I’m having a frank discussion today about the difference between ‘financial fear’ and ‘financial stress’
In this Money Mindful podcast episode, you will learn:
- What is financial fear and financial stress
- How to identify if you are experiencing financial stress or fear
- How you can use this awareness to inform your spending decisions
- If you are putting false barriers in front of what you want
You can listen to the episode above or read the unedited transcript below.
Is Financial Fear a True Barrier to What You Want
Meaghan Smith 00:20
Hello beautiful human. Welcome to the Money Mindful Podcast. I am your host, Meaghan Jean Smith. I'm a money mindset and life coach for women, women entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, I help women just get over their limitations. I help you stop under earning, stop undervaluing yourself, stop letting your self imposed limitations stop you from creating what you want in your life. I help you overcome all that stuff, they are the women that I work with. And I help you with that on this podcast. So if that's you, you're in the right place. If you're a regular listener, Hey, how you doing, great to have you here. And if you're new to the podcast, welcome, I'm really glad that you're here. I'm really glad to connect with you and have the opportunity to help you wherever you are in the world.
Meaghan Smith 01:18
Alright. I want to talk to you today about the difference between money fear, and money stress. So financial fear and financial stress. This is something that I have experienced myself, I've experienced both financial fear and I've also experienced financial stress. And I want to talk to you about the difference between the two, so you can identify them for yourselves. And the reason why is to - like why I want to bring this up with you - is sometimes well, not sometimes, often, in my line of work, people use money as a barrier, as a limitation to what they can and can't do in their life. Right? I do it myself. A lot of people do it, right? We say things like I can't afford it, or we think something is out of our reach because of the price. And we don't do things that we want to do because of money.
Meaghan Smith 02:37
Now, there's certain situations where I think it's a really good idea not to do something, or not to pay for something because of the cost. And I'll go into that in a minute. And I think there's other situations where it's not about the cost, it's something else and that you should do it. Alright? Now I want to be really careful here. This episode is not about, I'm not trying to tell you to run off and get yourself into lots of debt or anything like that, or spend money when you don't feel comfortable spending money. But I also am going to talk to you about spending money when you don't feel comfortable with spending money. But anyway, oh my goodness, just bear with me. Hear me out.
Meaghan Smith 03:25
Let's start with what financial stress is, okay? And when money might actually be a true barrier in your current circumstance in the moment. Now, I don't mean that money is a true barrier for you for your lifetime, and that it's always going to be like this. But yeah, anyway, let me just keep saying what I'm saying and I think you'll follow me. So basically, and the reason why I'm talking about this, too, is often, you know, clients will, people will come to me, they want to work with me, and then they hear what I charge and you know, based on their income level or whatever, sometimes people are like, Oh my gosh, I had no idea. I wasn't expecting you to say that, you know, you charge $5500 to work with you, right? Like they're just, they're shocked. And then other people totally expect that that's how much I would charge, of course I would charge that, and it's not a problem but they're - what am I trying to say? It's not just with people who want to work with me, it's people that I work with who want to do something in their life, and they're like, I can't do it because it's $3,000 or, I couldn't possibly do that because it's, you know, going to cost $10,000 or whatever it is, right? It's this limitation that they put on themselves because of the price of something, and sometimes, I think that it is a true barrier. But other times I think it's not. The cost is not actually a true barrier. And we put these limitations on ourselves.
Meaghan Smith 05:14
Alright, so let me go back to what I was trying to say. So financial stress, what is financial stress? Financial stress when money is a real barrier, is when you want to do something, but you quite literally do not have the money. So you don't have money in your bank account, you don't have savings, maybe you are in debt. So you're owing money, consumer debt, or something that is, you know, increasing, like there's a lot of interest on it, you're getting behind, and that's something that you're trying to get a handle on. I'm also talking about when you don't have a regular income, or you don't have income coming in, in the foreseeable future. So, and this is what I'm talking about too, is very loose and general, okay, it's different for everyone.
Meaghan Smith 06:12
So right now, I'm going to say you might be in financial stress if you've just lost your job, and you don't have any other money coming in, or you've just lost your one and only client, I don't know, maybe you just have one big client. Now, you could lose your job or lose your biggest client and that NOT be a financial stress, right? Because maybe you have multiple streams of income, or maybe you have lots of savings. So I'm not saying that if you lost your job, that means you're under financial stress, but I'm giving examples in the sense that if you've lost your job, and you currently don't have another job, and you have no savings in the bank, and you've got, I don't know, three big bills due, yes, that could mean that you're under financial stress, okay? But the individual things that I'm saying don't necessarily mean that you're under financial stress.
Meaghan Smith 07:11
But what I'm trying to highlight is, you're under financial stress and experiencing financial stress, when you quite literally don't have money, and you don't have money coming in, in the immediate future. Okay? That's financial stress. And I have been in that situation before, and it's frickin' terrible. And I physically got sick because of it, because I was so stressed out, I didn't know where my next job was gonna come from. It was years ago, when I worked in the photography industry, and I was working for myself. And I just, I didn't know about business, like I know about business now. I had a lot of skill gaps. I thought - I was naive, basically, when I first went into business, and I thought you just had to have a skill, like, okay, you're a photographer, or you're a hairdresser, and people will just come to you, people will find you.
Meaghan Smith 08:16
I had no idea about marketing or sales, or that you needed to be able to market your business, like people need to know about you to find you, right? And I just would get jobs from word of mouth. But I didn't have a process that I followed to market myself and work for me had dried up, I didn't have any more work coming in. And I still had to pay rent, and I still had to buy food. And it was during the holiday season when normally I wouldn't get much work. And it was scary. It was really scary. But even saying that though, I will say that I had a partner at the time, the partner that I'm still with now, and I'm sure if I had asked to borrow money at the time, he would have lent me money. I also had family that I'm sure if I couldn't pay my rent, or if I got into, you know, serious trouble that work hadn't come in, I could have asked them for help. Right? So even though I felt like I was under this extreme financial stress, I wasn't going to die or anything. And there were people in my life that could have helped me.
Meaghan Smith 09:28
But if someone had come to me at that time and said, you know, hey, I can help you or why don't you do this course for $10,000 or something like that? I don't think that would have been a good idea for me at that point in time to say yes. Now there'll be people who disagree with me, you know, hardcore people who are like, well, if you could have paid $10,000 to learn how to market your photography business back then, and then made a heap of money, wouldn't that have been a good investment?
Meaghan Smith 09:58
And you know, knowing what I know now, I would say yes, but I have a different set of skills now. Like I didn't believe in myself back then, like I do now. And I don't think that would have been helpful, I don't think it would have been helpful to get myself into debt, to do something at that time, because I didn't have the skills and the knowledge to create money like I do now. And the best thing for me to do back then was to take just the next steps to creating security for myself. So creating steps to get my next work career. And what I actually did was I went about developing a different skill that I could use. I went and trained as a teacher, because I felt like, well, I don't know how to get jobs regularly as a photographer, but I can work as a teacher and have that as a supplementary income. And that's what I did back then. And that's just like, I'm just giving you an example of what happened in my life. But I was under financial stress, I didn't have money coming in. And I didn't know how to get more money coming in, in the profession that I was in. I didn't have the skills in that area. And so if I was making a big decision back then, a financial decision, I don't think that would have been a good idea, to say yes to doing something that costs a lot of money, right?
Meaghan Smith 11:36
Now, the opposite of that, financial fear. What is financial fear? And is it a real barrier to getting what you want? So financial fear is just when you're afraid to spend money, because you've never spent it before. Right? Like you've never spent that much money before, or you've never spent it on the thing that you want to buy. Right? And this is a fictional example, but I'll just use this to relate it. So let's say that I wasn't doing as well with my photography business as I wanted to, but I had plenty of savings in the bank. Or, you know, I lived with a partner who had a job and paid all the bills and, you know, was financially supporting me, and maybe I wasn't bringing in money myself from photography, but I was totally supported financially. If someone had come to me then and said, Hey, do you want to do this course to learn how to be better in business and learn sales skills and marketing skills, so you can get more photography jobs? That's when I think that financial fear is not a true barrier. That's when I think I would say yes, like, pay the money and do the thing to increase your skills or do the thing that you want to do in your life. Because it's not financial fear I would have been under, you know, if I had someone who was supporting me, but I just was afraid to spend that money in case I failed. Like, what if I spent $10,000, and then my business didn't take off? Right? That's financial fear.
Meaghan Smith 13:24
Now, that's not actually the case, because I didn't have that back then. So to give you another real life example, when we bought our first property, our first home, I experienced a lot of financial fear. We had the money, we had a deposit to buy a house, but I had never handed over, you know, tens of thousands of dollars before for something. That was not in the realm of what I had experienced in my life. So it was extremely scary. And there were some blocks there where we had moments where we were like, Are we really going to do this? And it had nothing to do with being under financial stress. We didn't have financial stress, we had money, we had a deposit to buy a house. But I'd never done anything like that before. I'd never taken out a loan for hundreds of thousands of dollars, I'd never had that much responsibility over an amount of money. And so the limitations that were coming up for me, weren't true limitations in the sense that I had the money to do it, but I just was scared because I'd never spent that money.
Meaghan Smith 14:45
And this is what I see with my clients, that they want to do something, right, like they've started a new business, for example, and they want to upgrade something or they want to improve something. And it could be anything, it could be they want to employ a VA, like a virtual assistant, or an assistant, because they want to free up more time in their business, but they're scared to spend that money because they've never done it before. Or they want to increase their skills, like they want to invest in a course or something, right, to learn how to do sales and marketing better in their business, for example. This is just the example that keeps coming to the top of my head. But it could be anything in business, right?
Meaghan Smith 15:31
Like in business, you need a lot of skills. And there are some times you can grow and scale your business if you have certain services, that I've seen clients be scared to invest in, because they're scared to spend the money, because they've never spent it before. Same with people, like I've had consultations with people where they've told me straight to my face, 'I really want to do coaching, but I just don't think it's a good time right now'. You know, the money is an obstacle for them. And then when I just ask them a few more questions, they're like, 'Oh, yeah, I've got savings, like, I've got $20,000 in the bank, I've got $10,000 in the bank'. But they've just never invested money in themselves before, like that amount of money. And so this fear comes up. And that's what blocks them - the fear of spending money that they haven't spent before.
Meaghan Smith 16:31
So I just want you to have this awareness around the difference between financial fear - money fear - and financial stress or money stress. So you can use your own discernment, when you're making decisions about what you want to do in your life, right? In regards to anything that you want to do. Don't use money as a barrier to creating what you want. And I'm not suggesting going and getting yourself in heaps of debt. But I want you to ask yourself some questions like, Am I really under financial stress? Or am I just scared to spend this money because I've never invested in this way before. Like, I've never spent this much money on myself, or I've never spent this much money, you know, like buying a house.
Meaghan Smith 17:27
For example, I want to give you a few examples of my life, to help you here. So when we bought our second investment property, we used a buyer's agent. And using a buyer's agent is no joke, okay, it costs quite a bit of money to use a buyer's agent. But I didn't want to become a professional buyer's agent myself. And there's research involved, like when you're buying property for investment purposes. I'm not going to go into all the details here. But you don't just buy another property in the area that you live. If you want a property to be an investment, to actually make you money, you need to do research, right? and invest in an area that is growing, where you'll get capital growth and where you'll have a good rental yield, right? So we employed somebody to do that, who, that's their job, that's what they do.
Meaghan Smith 18:28
But I was shit scared, right, in the beginning. And I had so much doubt, because I'd never paid somebody that much money before to do something to do with investing. But I can tell you a couple of years in, we've had that property and it's gone up like more than 30% in value, right, like in just a couple of short years. I mean, we could sell that property now at a profit, or we could refinance it and buy another property. Like that was a really good investment for us. But I was so scared to do it. And I was experiencing financial fear. But it wasn't financial stress.
Meaghan Smith 19:13
Okay, and the difference here is yes, we were taking risks. Yes, we were taking out another loan. Yes, we were paying somebody a decent amount of money for their service to find a property for us. But we both had regular incomes, my partner and I, we both had stable, regular incomes, we had savings in the bank. And you know, we weren't living the high life or anything, and it did feel like a stretch for us at the time. But we weren't under financial stress. And the only thing that was coming up was just fear of the unknown, I hadn't done that stuff before, and where there are risks involved, of course, there's always risks involved with anything, like when you do a course, for instance, you could enrol in a course and find that you don't get the value out of it that you expected, that you thought it was going to be something else. But you don't know before you try.
Meaghan Smith 20:20
And especially for, I'm talking to business people right now, or even if you don't have a business, there's a lot of skills involved when you're doing a new thing. And for example, when I started doing this podcast, I invested in a few courses, like I did a course on how to make a podcast, to learn, like how to do that. Now, could I have done that on my own without doing a course? Of course I could have, of course, of course! Of course, I could have done that, but it would have taken me longer, right? Like it was so much easier just having a resource, just paying somebody to teach me how to do it, because I hadn't done it before. And I got all the skills that I needed to produce a quality podcast, right?
Meaghan Smith 21:05
Now, again, money fear, that was just money fear, like thinking, Oh, should I spend this money? Right? Because the thoughts that come up, were like, am I going to get the value out of it that I want? Is it going to be a waste of money? All those things that we think, that's money fear, that's not money stress, that's just trying to keep your brain safe, like your brain's just trying to keep you safe from failure. And the truth is that sometimes you might spend money on things that didn't turn out how you thought, but you'll never know until you actually do it. Right? Like I started a business a bit over a year ago, and it could have been a complete flop. Right? I could have got no clients. But how would I know until I've actually done it. And that's money fear in the beginning, you know, like investing in things.
Meaghan Smith 21:59
And so if you are wanting to do something right now in your life, but you're not paying for that course, so you're not buying that book, or you're not investing in a property or you're not doing something because of the cost of something: ask yourself, 'Am I not doing this because I'm actually under financial stress? Like I don't have income coming in, I'm in debt, I actually need to do things to get my finances to a stable place, or am I not doing this just because I'm afraid, because I've never actually spent this kind of money before or I've never spent money in this way before?' And really be honest with yourself and look at the way that you already spend money, like some people won't think twice about having a car loan, right? Like spending hundreds of dollars every week on a car. That's just normal because people do it. Right? But for someone else, that would just be like, No way, I wouldn't do that.
Meaghan Smith 23:04
So it's not about what the thing is that you're spending money on. But look at what you already spend money on in your life right now and how much money you're spending on those things. And just question yourself about it, you know, like, Is it okay to spend 100 or 200 bucks on going to the gym every month, but then you wouldn't spend $100 or $200 to go and do a course or learn a skill that could increase your income or increase your quality of life. Just be curious and really open with yourself. And this will help you dissolve money barriers, okay, because so often we think money is a barrier when it's actually not. Right? Like you're not under financial stress. It's just you're afraid because you've never spent that kind of money before or you've never spent it on the particular thing that you want to spend it on. Right? It can apply in all different areas. And please, please, please don't think I'm trying to tell you go and get yourself into debt. I'm not. I'm just trying to help you be onto yourself and be truthful, so you can dissolve money as a barrier. And actually really look at it truthfully, like, is this a real barrier? Can I really not afford this? Like, am I under financial stress? Is this going to cause harm to me? Right? And if that's the case, then absolutely do not spend the money, right? Do not put yourself in debt.
Meaghan Smith 24:43
But you know, I've spoken on the podcast before about how I took on some debt, to do training to be a life coach and it was the best thing ever. Right? And that was a case of financial fear. Because going into a little bit of debt to learn a new skill - I had a regular income, my partner had a regular income. Yes, I was going into some debt, but I had a means of paying it off. I also had a track record of paying my bills, you know, and being good with money. So the fear I had in taking on some debt to do it was irrational, right? And if I hadn't done it, I would have actually blocked myself from a whole new career, just because I was afraid to spend money in a way that I hadn't spent it before.
Meaghan Smith 25:31
And so that's what I want to offer you, to really create some space around your thoughts about money, and when you're wanting to do something new, is it a true barrier? Like, are you really under financial stress? Or are you just scared, because you haven't done that before. And once you know that it's actually fear, then you can create some comfort for yourself. Then you can talk to yourself, like, it's okay, I've never bought a house before, of course I'm going to feel scared taking a home loan out, right? Like, it's okay investing in a new software system for my business. I've never invested in a software system for my business before, of course I'm gonna feel some doubt or fear, it's something new, I haven't done it before. Right? But you can create that comfort for yourself when you know that it's actually fear, and not a true barrier. Like just, you're afraid of the unknown, of not having done something before.
Meaghan Smith 26:37
Alright, I really hope that that helps. And helps you maybe get over some barriers that are holding you back from moving forward with some things in your life. Like maybe you want to create a business. And you know, you have savings in the bank, you have financial backup, you have a partner who earns a regular income, and you can start a business but you're just scared, right? Or maybe you want to do something new in your career, like you want to go and do your master's degree so you can get a promotion at work. But you know, you're going to have to take a hit because, I don't know how much is it these days to do your masters, 30 grand? Probably more. But you know, you've got to invest in that to get that skill.
Meaghan Smith 27:26
So yeah, just marinate on that. Ask yourself, is this real financial stress I'm putting myself under, or is this just a perceived fear and I'm creating a limitation for myself because I don't want to feel that discomfort of doing something that I've never done before, spending money in a way that I've never done.
Meaghan Smith 27:49
Okay, my friend. Hey, listen, did you get the amazing video training that I made for you? I've been talking about it the last couple of weeks on the podcast, it's how to create the money and life you want. It's a training really on on goal setting, like it's how to create goals, but actually how to do them, so they're as good as done. I teach you a process. I teach it to you over three days. It's a video training that you get in your inbox. Just go to the website, the Money Mindful website, this episode, click on that or go to meaghanjsmith.com , my main coaching website and there will be little bar across the front on the homepage that you can click on to get it. I would love you to have it. It's a great resource and it's going to help you create what you want in your life. Alright, until I speak to you again, have an amazing week. Bye Bye.
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