Something Scare You? Try Learning More About It
Ever since we moved to the midwest, I’ve been paying far more attention to the weather than I ever have before. That’s because, there’s something called “tornadoes” that are a bit more frequent around here than, say, Los Angeles. So, little by little, I started to learn a bit more about severe weather and what the National Weather Service’s various threat levels really mean. While I still don’t know all of the technical terminology or how to read some of the models the NWS occasionally tweets, doing this bit of research has helped ease my fears and put things in a better, truer context.
It occurs to me that a similar approach could also apply to aspects of finance that frighten us. Take investing, for example. At this point, it’s really no secret that many Americans find the very concept of investing to be daunting, intimidating, or just scary. However, as the popularity of numerous FinTech apps shows, these hurdles can be overcome when consumers learn more about how the markets actually work and can take small steps toward building their portfolio — not to mention realizing how they can reduce their risk.
On that note, although researching certain topics can make us more comfortable with them, there are still times when a healthy amount of fear may be warranted. Going back to the investing example, it’s never advisable that consumers throw their money into the market and/or other assets with reckless abandon. Instead, what’s most important is that we learn to properly quantify what risks we’ll be taking and find our own tolerance. In the case of my weather worries, make no mistake that tornadoes and other severe weather are things that should be feared, but studying up on how to take proper preparations can help alleviate anxiety while helping you protect yourself.
With so much happening in the world and social media continuing to be a large part of our lives, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. In turn, it might seem as though the last thing you’d want to do is pay more attention to a topic that scares you. Yet, the truth is that doing so may just be the best solution for easing your fears.
Heck, this actually speaks to my personal finance origin story as I finally checked my credit score after years of worrying about how bad it might be (spoiler: it was actually pretty good). So, as we prepare for Halloween this weekend, maybe now is the perfect time to face your fears — financial or otherwise — and do some learning.