Don’t Panic About Money

I’m going to begin by saying I’m not a financial adviser. I’m a 20-something year old college graduate, trying to live on a part-time job while I continue looking for fulfilling full-time work. Like a lot of other people in this position (and even a lot of people in general), the lack of money can stress us out. It makes us feel helpless and scared. It’s like our world is slowly crumbling down, and all we can do is watch until we can afford to pay a little money to stop the crumbling for a short time.

I’m currently approaching the end of a car lease. I’d really like to buy the car, and I’m afraid I’m not going to have enough. There’s a small, yet noticeable scratch on it, and if I turn it in without purchasing it, I’m sure there will be a significant charge (figures I’d go seven years in a shitty car without getting any damage, yet within two years of a new lease I would). I’d really like to buy it, but unless I can negotiate a better price, I may have to find a car somewhere else- and fast. And even if I can afford it, unless I can really bring down the price, I’ll be left with almost nothing.

My heart’s been beating a lot lately. I’m anxious, a little uptight, kind of irritable, and am just worrying all day. Sound familiar?

I’m probably not the most reliable person to say this, but chances are you need to hear it anyway:

Don’t panic about money.

It’s hard not to, but panicking about money probably won’t change anything. It’s like worrying about anything else, you’ve got to just calm down and try taking some kind of action to fix the issue, and if there’s no action you can do, worrying is just going to make you feel worse.

I know a lot of people that freak themselves out over money. Some of them drown themselves in their worrying and fall into states of depression. Others look for quick ways to earn a lot of cash, like with lottery tickets or selling stuff, but quickly become disappointed when all of their financial problems don’t disappear. A few people will look for quick seasonal or part-time jobs, usually two or three at a time. While that is a somewhat admirable way to display work ethic and what someone will do just to survive, they ultimately become trapped and unable to pursue careers that may actually relieve them of their monetary woes.

And don’t get me wrong, money’s important. It’s something worth worrying about. Occasionally. But all the time? I mean… it’s just money, you know? It’s cliched, but it’s not going to buy you happiness. And ultimately, it’s not going to matter as much as some of the other experiences in your life. When you think of the past, do you think of how much money you had? Probably not. Money may be involved in those memories, but you’re probably thinking about your experiences and relationships with people instead. An article I read recently said it best: “You will never be on your death bed wishing you spent another day at a job you hated because it gave you money.”

So try not to worry about it. And the reality is, most people never have as much money as they’d like, so you’re not alone. It’s something that comes and goes, and the sooner you can accept that, the sooner you can stop worrying about it all the time. It’s not the only thing that matters. And yeah, that’s cliched too, but it’s also true. Good luck.

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