12 Life Coaching Techniques to Deal With Financial Anxiety
Grief, anxiety and depression, as a result of financial loss are as real and damaging as the loss of a loved friend or close relative. In some cases it’s even worse.
There can’t be many other stories that illustrate this point more shockingly and dramatically than the case of Chris Foster.
On a warm summer’s night in August 2008, Chris Foster, a successful, self made multi millionaire shot and killed his wife and teenage daughter as they lay sleeping. He then went out to the stables where he shot dead his horses and the family dog. He then poured gallons of fuel over his mansion house and surrounding out buildings and set fire to the whole lot. As the fire took hold of the buildings, he climbed the stairs, lay down beside his wife and died of smoke inhalation before the whole place was engulfed in flame and burnt to the ground. The damage was so extensive and total that it took forensic scientists three days to locate the remains of the bodies.
It was a shocking event. The fall out and follow up stories continued for years afterwards.
And what prompted it? An impending tax bill that he could not pay.
It later transpired that he had a series of other debts and faced financial ruin. But even so, it makes you wonder…could I be pushed to those extremes? How would I cope in the face of complete financial ruin?
In the musical of Charles Dicken’s “Oliver”, Fagin, leader of the pick pockets, sings the prophetic words “in this life, one thing counts, in the bank, large amounts.”
Have we all become one of Fagin’s pick pocketing street urchins, hoarding away large amounts only to have it pick pocketed away by someone else when we aren’t looking. We all like to think that we are as financially cunning as the Artful Dodger but in reality, all of us, including the so called experts, are as vulnerable as Oliver Twist.
Here are some good Life Coaching techniques to cope with financial loss, uncertain futures and financial anxiety:
12 Great Life Coaching Techniques to Cope with Financial Loss
The “So What” Perspective
You have lost money. So what. It wont destroy you. It wont kill you, unless like Chris Foster you allow it to. You are in charge…not your money. It’s a useful mantra to repeat to yourself; “I am in charge not my money.”
Think back to a time before you had money, or when it wasn’t something important. How were you as a child, did you enjoy things without money? Of course you did. What did you need to enjoy yourself when you were young? How much did it cost? I’m guessing it was very little indeed.
Imagine time stretching out before you, and all the money that you will be earning falling out of the sky and into your outstretched arms. Earning power is at its greatest between the ages of 50 and 60. During this time you will get back some of what you have lost.
Self Perception Theory
“We learn what we believe when we hear ourselves talk.” Don’t keep telling yourself negative things about the loss of your money. If you find yourself saying and thinking “this is terrible, how can it be happening to me, I can’t cope, I’m useless, it’s all terrible, etc…”
You will end up believing your own publicity. Stop talking about how dreadful it is.
Disconnect Your Self Esteem
Basing our self esteem (like lots of us do) on financial gain and the joys of material worth is not a great idea. It must be the most common yet fragile way of building self esteem. It’s all great as long as you keep hold of the cash, but as soon as it goes so does your self esteem. Disconnect your self esteem from your material wealth. It’s not you, it never has been. It was a concept placed there by Fagin (or someone like him!) many years ago. Your self esteem should never be based upon money and material gain.
Re-Create Your Self Esteem
Your self esteem should be based upon who you are, not how much money you have in the bank, or how big your car or house is. Remind yourself of who you actually are without all that stuff. What are you good at, what do you enjoy, what are your unique abilities, what do you give to others, how do you make the world a better place? All this is good stuff to be thinking about rather than dwelling on your financial loss. Write it down and turn it into your new self esteem list.
The Trade Off List
Create list of bad and good. So under Bad you might have “financial loss” but under Good you might have “health.” For every Bad item you list counter it with something Good.
I once talked to someone who felt uneasy with less than 100 UK pounds cash in his pocket. There was no reason to this. He never spent any of it as he used to take out extra cash to actually spend. He just felt comfortable with 100 pounds in his pocket. He had done it for so long that the idea of going out anywhere without this cash became genuinely scary. It sounds crazy doesn’t it, but is similar to the situation you are in right now. You have been used to “x” amount of money, and now having lost some, or all of it, you have less. Life goes on, nothing has changed, except you have to adjust your perspective on having less. Money is all about perspective.
Recently a Death Row inmate famously said “people should be happy to have debts, at least they will be alive this time next year.”
The Free List
Count up how many things you enjoy that are free or easily affordable; things that you really enjoy that wont cost anything, or very little. I gave this exercise to a friend and they came up with 112 different things. They lived alone which makes it easier, but it does go to show the variety of things that are out there if you look. On their list I remember they had; museum and art gallery visits, waking up early and jogging in the dark (it was winter at the time), making home made soup, talking to friends, Future Learn Online courses (check them out they are brilliant www.futurelearn.com), writing a book, exploring every park in London (where they lived), and much more that I can’t remember.
Change Your Environment
It maybe that selling up and moving house or renting a smaller place, or doing something else to manipulate the costs of your lifestyle maybe a good idea. These things sound drastic but they are not impossible. It maybe good to have a fresh start anyway, new plans, and new goals to aim for. It could all be part of the Bounce Back Plan.
Create a Bounce Back Plan
Okay, so how are you going to bounce back? What’s the plan? If you don’t have one, or are finding it difficult to think positively about a plan of action there are good counsellors or coaches who can really help, or good friends or relatives that can help you think about the future and how you are going to cope. You need to have a plan and you should start it right now.
Don’t Give Up
The most important thing is not to give up. If you feel that you cannot cope then get help in coping, don’t just give up. Remind yourself that however bad you feel that in time all feelings change. You wont feel this low indefinitely, it will pass and trying some of the above techniques may speed the process along.
Last of all, very best of luck with it all. Serious financial loss, like the old fashioned thick London fogs, pulls people together, so please pass this on to anyone who may find it helpful, or contact us to start planning your Bounce Back Plan.
Steven Horton says
Thanks for the read. I really need this. We have loss or loosing all to a fail grocery store. Our first store was great and the second one destroyed us. The hardest is being able to give my wife the life she is used to. After working 80 hour weeks, I’m back to loosing it all. Breaking the emotions and. Negative thought has been tough. I’m always thankful making it until Saturday. Not getting all these debt phone calls. Now at 58 and having a very successful store for years. I can’t getting anyone to put me to work. I told myself I would never be broke again, well I liked. Working hard at not having an emotional breakdown. Thanks