"Bag Lady Syndrome"

How to Overcome “Bag Lady Syndrome”—a guide for women

 By Karen A. Miller, CFP®, CFPA 

You are a successful woman. But if you’re like most women, no matter how successful you are, you still have that fear in the back of your head that you may end up on the street eating cat food. Irrational or not, this fear can be overwhelming—and if you let it, can stop you from doing what you need to do to be happy and financially secure. In this issue, we’ll talk about a few ways to overcome fear in general as well as to help ensure this specific fear does not become your reality.

 Make a plan

Treat fear as a call to action

You’ve likely heard the saying that “no one plans to fail—they simply fail to plan.” This is especially true when it comes to your finances. Your fear in this instance should be your call to action. If you don’t have a plan, make one now. It’s never too late (or too early) to start planning for the future.

 And if you do have a financial plan, review it on a regular basis. This can help provide some peace of mind when you can see your progress. Gasber Financial is here to help you create and manage your financial plans so you can stay on track toward the future you desire.

 Meditate on the answer

When faced with something you fear, it’s typical to panic or freeze—as your brain works overtime running through the possibilities. As we discussed in our last blog, meditation can help you learn to let thoughts flow through your mind without reacting to them. And this, in turn, may help keep you from getting anxious or stressed about things you may fear—helping you to feel more centered, calm and present in the moment.

 Stay positive

It may sound a bit out there, but the mindfulness you hear so much about today can make a difference in all areas of your life, including your finances. Because when you change the way you think about money, you really can change the way you behave with it—and that can make all the difference in the world.

 Consider, for example, the “scarcity loop” illustrated below *. The thought that you don’t have enough money creates anxiety and stress which leads to poor decisions, like spending money to buy something you think will make you feel better, which creates the negative outcome that you have even less money than before.

 But imagine what can happen when you change the thought processes. When you start out, for example, with the idea of being grateful for the money you already have, you end up less stressed and are able to make smarter choices about your money, which can lead to you saving more money and feeling more secure.

And when you can keep this sort of positive cycle going, you can continue to improve your financial security. It may sound simple, but this can really work—and, like meditation, all it takes is practice.

Be grateful

Sometimes being positive and grateful can be as simple as remembering what you are grateful for even in negative situations. You can remind yourself of what you are grateful for—sure you’re stuck in traffic, but you’re in a warm, dry car. Sometimes simply saying the word “grateful” out loud can help you relax and stay positive.

Another idea is to remember to give yourself credit for the steps you are taking—no matter how small they may be. Every step should be acknowledged. At Gasber Financial, we believe strongly in the power of planning and positive thinking. We can help you review your plan to ensure you are on track toward the retirement of your dreams.