Worry Isn’t Something We Value

I worry about money.

I bet you worry about money, too.

But here’s the interesting thing: I’ve never worked with anyone who identified “worry” as something they valued.

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So why do we let worry about money drive so much of our thinking and decision making?

My experience suggests our worry comes from trying to control things outside our control.

For instance, we can worry about whether we’ll ever have enough money to retire. Concept of money growing from coins

We can also worry about whether we’ll have enough money to help our kids with college.

Both of these goals are important.

However, we’ve got to realize that even if we do everything within our power, we may still come up short.

Humans have a hard time accepting this outcome.

We want to believe that doing and trying will always be enough to overcome every obstacle between us and our goals.

So what’s the alternative?

This leads me to a crazy idea.

What if we commit to doing everything we can, then, we just let go?

We let go of the worry.

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We let go of the fear.

We let go of trying to control things we can’t control.

Yes, this idea might sound radical.

And yes, telling someone to “stop worrying” is easier said than done.

But I’m blown away at the number of people who’ve never considered this option.

I suggest that we treat worry as a sign that we need to revisit the things we’ve said we value most.

Using these values, we can begin to weigh if our worry is really worthwhile or if we’re focused on the wrong thing.

Are we really doing everything we can, like sticking with our budget and meeting our savings goal?

If so, take a step back and recognize that worry doesn’t need to play a lead role in our financial decisions.

Again, I understand that banishing worry doesn’t come easy.

But there’s so little to lose and so much to gain if we can learn to put aside the worry and focus on what we can control when it comes to money.

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Carl Richards

About

Carl Richards is a Certified Financial Planner and a columnist for the New York Times, Morningstar magazine and Yahoo Finance. He is author of 2 books, The Behavior Gap & The One-Page Financial Plan. Carl lives with his family in Park City, Utah. You can find his work and sign up for his newsletter (which has an international audience) at www.behaviorgap.com/


'Worry Isn’t Something We Value' have 3 comments

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    February 9, 2017 Richard

    You are of course, spot on. When I have done everything I possibly can in any situation, then I stand and rest in peace, full in the knowledge that the Lord is in control, I have done all that is expected of me; My God will de the rest.

    Reply

    Avatar

    February 20, 2016 Paul

    Just letting go is the same as ‘giving up’ – have your _really_ done everything you can, all that is really possible, explored every avenue and tried everything? The worry comes from not being certain that you have done enough and that you can do more to make it better. If you believe it is enough, then you don’t worry. The rest of us believe more can be done, hence we worry what that may be.

    Reply


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