Don’t Let FOMO
Send You into Financial Ruin

Ted Jenkin
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This isn’t about jealousy, so don’t get defensive. Ok, maybe it is about jealousy. But, it’s really not your fault! If you are like most people, you find it hard not to look at others around you (thank you very much social media!) and feel that maybe, even just a little, others have it better than you.

FOMO often creates irrational thoughts that lead to irresponsible money decisions.

With the power of social media today and the strong suggestions of images, we can often feel like we are missing out in the good times…the fun times…the best of times. Everyone else is traveling the world and getting promotions and shopping from morning ‘til night. (Of course, “seems” is the key word here….)  It seems like everyone else has it all from what we see and read on social media.

One phenomenon to hit the scene in the past few years is a concept called FOMO — the Fear Of Missing Out.

FOMO often creates irrational thoughts that lead to irresponsible money decisions. The resulting irrational spending patterns leaving you with little cash and lots of debt.

4 tips to help you avoid FOMO

Nobody Posts Their Net Worth on Instagram or Facebook

While your mind sees these really cool images of parties, vacations and new luxury cars, remember what you DON’T see is the net worth of your chatty Facebook friend. You can put lipstick on a pig and make it look good, but it still won’t change the fact that it is a pig.  

Remember, that many of the people you see doing these great things really can’t afford them, and likely are either in debt or massively behind on their savings goals. Don’t be that person.

You Are Who You Are and They Are Who They Are

In the absence of excitement, you might trick your emotions into thinking that your life is unreasonably dull. Dwelling on being dull can make your spending patterns start to go off course. Just because someone travels to Europe doesn’t mean you need to as well. That type of trip might not even make you happy. Maybe you enjoy hiking in the mountains or taking a long bicycle ride through a cool part of your state.

Make choices you can afford and you know will fulfill you. .

Limit Social Media Time

Viewing your life through the lens of the lives of others can leave you with jealousy and envy, especially around a picture that has been photo shopped. We all love to catch up on what’s going on with our high school and college friends but consider cutting back your usage. Too much time on social media is going to a paint a slanted picture of only the “best” moments in people’s lives and not the worst. When is the last time your friend posted about their child failing a test or getting benched in a game? Exactly.

Replace some of that chillin on social with actually spending some face to face time with a friend and watch what happens.

Just Say “No!”

Sounds like a late 1980s drug commercial, huh? Can you separate the difference between an inconvenience and a problem? As Robert Fulghum would say, “Life is lumpy. And a lump in the oatmeal, a lump in the throat, and a lump in a breast are not the same lump. We can acknowledge  the difference.”

It’s perfectly acceptable to tell your friends that you can’t afford dinner at that restaurant or you can’t stay at a particular hotel.  Nobody will look down on you and if they do you don’t need to be around them. In that case, say “goodbye.” That’s empowering too!

Ted Jenkin (@tedjenkin) is the CEO of oXYGen Financial, a financial advisory firm managing more than $600,000,000 focused on being your financial advisor and your financial therapist. He is a frequent guest writer for the Wall Street Journal and personal finance expert for CNN Headline News Weekend Express and The Weather Channel. 

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