From Fear to Freedom

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Courage is the lynchpin to facing these fears

From Fear to Freedom main
LAST week, we have explored the different kinds of fear that we face: Fears that hold and bind us, fears that paralyze us, and fears that chain us. These fears of our psyche consequently manifest in our financial decisions that ultimately affect our financial life.

So how do we then address each of these fears?

You start with courage. This solution is so simple, so pre-school, and so basic that it brings me to tears. And all of us should know it by now. But if you look at how many people nowadays are still being held prisoner by their own fears, then it gets you thinking that courage is not so easy and common to take path at all. It doesn’t take a lot of courage to overcome much fear. Sometimes, it takes just a small bit of it, in as much as it can take just one single prick to burst a balloon.

Courage is the lynchpin to facing these fears. It is the start.

But people have a common notion about courage: They say that people who are courageous have no fear in them. On the contrary, people who are courageous have fear in them; they just decided to get out of their fearful selves, face the music and surrendered to their higher purpose. For instance, I have spoken in front of a lot of audiences on different occasions—young people, retirees, yuppies, middle-aged, government workers, private employees—that by now, I should be able to be at perfect ease and supreme confidence every time I speak in front of a crowd. Well…no. On the contrary, I feel every as bit nervous as it was my first time to speak—my hands are as cold and clammy as a frog, my heart is pounding like a jackhammer in my chest, and it’s a butterfly house in my stomach. This does not mean I am an epitome of courage through and through, but I trumped it over the bar and delivered in spite of my feelings of fear.

Which brings me to the next point of courage: it is not all emotion. It is also part-decision. Riding that first bicycle in the neighbourhood, driving the first time in EDSA, asking a girl out…we felt courageous, yet we felt also fear, side by side. But our decision to do it has made all the difference. It is with courage that we muster the strength to face the truth, to know what is and is not, and to see the reality as it really is.

But it doesn’t end with courage. It doesn’t, at all. When we have had courage, then we have a foothold on what we can do with our fears.

When we have courage, we can face the truth of our finances. We would finally look at our credit card billing and see that we have accumulated so much debt that our most of our salary goes to paying just the minimum required. We would finally consolidate all our liabilities and assets and see that we are heavily indebted. We would be able to see that we are spending more unsustainably our dream lifestyle more than spending based our needs. And we would see that we build our future today, that the time to start taking responsibility for our finances is NOW, and no one else is responsible for it but OURSELVES.

With courage, then we can understand investments: their benefits and risks involved. With this understanding, we then diversify and manage our risks by allocating our money not just in savings and time deposits, but also into different investment instruments, bearing in mind our own unique needs, risk appetite and financial goals. Thus, we now take steps in maximizing the potential of our assets to new limits.

With a bit of courage, we would be open to new financial products and services, knowing them more and studying how they can serve our purpose. The basic need for financial security remains the same, but the tools to achieve those dreams are dynamic and changing. Before, there was just savings account and time deposit, now you have mutual funds, UITFs and Exchange-Traded Funds; before you have traditional life insurances, now you variable unit life (VULs). Ask your financial advisor or bank manager. Sometimes, you don’t even have to ask, for you might come across some people who would introduce a new product. They won’t bite. And you don’t have to buy from them. Be curious and know the facts. For it is in knowing the facts that we are able to understand better and thus lessen our fear.

Lastly, with every bit of courage we can muster, then we are able to boldly take action and pursue that life-long dream: your dream financial life, your dream business, your dream investment. We shall make mistakes along the way, but better now than later. Who doesn’t make mistakes, anyway? (Well, only the dead doesn’t.)And our wounds would be wounds of learning, just like when we bear the scars in our knees when we are trying to walk. Now we can run. We maybe are not there–the achievement of our dream board—not just yet. But we can start. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither was SM, nor Mang Inasal, nor National Book Store.

Oprah said to “live your best life.”

And living our best life means living it despite our fears, and with courage. With courage, we can face the truth, understand better, know more and boldly take action. With courage, we can live a life from fear to freedom.

col-oped-personal finance-RPBiolenaRienzie Biolena is a Registered Financial Planner of RFP Philippines. He is a Senior Financial Advisor at asset management company, and Columnist of Business Mirror and Rappler.

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