Your emotions are useful for expressing yourself and alerting you to dangerous situations. However, one emotion, anger, can have a negative impact on your financial health. When not managed in a constructive way, anger has a way of consuming you and impacting every area of your life. Unfortunately, angry feelings can sometimes result in poor financial management. Financial expert Joan Sotkin says unresolved anger can keep you from being prosperous. “If you’re serious about changing your financial position, it’s essential that you deal with anger that is hidden deep inside of you and will interfere with your prosperity,” Sotkin said.
A danger to your finances: letting anger fester
One source of anger that can impact the way you approach your finances is debt. When you let this anger about your debt fester, the overwhelming emotions can prevent you from taking the steps necessary to get back on track with your money. Instead of making a change, you may resort to blaming others for your predicament. You may even engage in activities that have a low chance of working out or might make your financial situation worse (spending a significant amount of money on lottery tickets or gambling, for example).
Billy Fay, a correspondent for debt management and education company Debt.org, explains how letting anger fester can snowball.
You become angry at yourself for getting into this untenable position in the first place. You are angry at your boss for not paying you enough. You are angry at your creditors who charge too much interest, have too little patience or compassion, or are otherwise enjoying your predicament. You are angry at your loved ones because of the burden they have placed on you for their subsistence. You are angry at the world for not letting you win the lottery, which would put an end to all of your money problems. Anger can precipitate impulsive actions involving violence and/or illegal activities.
One of your first reactions may be to push all of your angry feelings aside, and deny having any financial issues or anger. You may start to daydream about being the next Powerball winner or receiving an inheritance. However, hoping and wishing that your financial situation will improve isn’t the best way to handle things. You have to put effort into some realistic money goals so that you can heal your finances once and for all. Sotkin says it is important to first accept your anger, and then think along the lines of more realistic solutions. “If you’re debting, spending, late-bill paying, or other financial behaviors that annoy or anger someone else in your life, then those behaviors are serving you because they allow you to control. Reversing these behaviors requires that you let go of your anger, resentment, and your need to control,” said Sotkin.
Avoid blaming yourself or others for your financial missteps. This is an unhealthy means for you to reframe your anger about your current financial state into a feeling that is bearable. According to psychologist Leon F. Seltzer anger often manifests as guilt, hurt, or fear. If you are feeling guilty, anxious, or fearful about your finances, resolve to set up a time to speak with a certified financial planner or certified credit counselor. The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards can help you find a certified financial planner and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling is a good resource for locating a credit counselor. Don’t become consumed by your feelings and put your financial health at risk. Instead, take steps to regain control of your emotions, and with the proper planning, your finances will follow.