Even Irrational Fears Are Not Recession-Proof!

Written by on April 17, 2013 in Money - No comments | Print this page

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financial fearsCan you still remember the time when parents snuck into their child’s room to leave money from the tooth fairy?

Yet nowadays kids need to check their piggy-banks aren’t robbed by that big tooth fairy in their size nines!

In a world where old certainties are no longer certain, psychologists warn that a boom in stress and anxiety may yet prove to be the longer lasting legacy left by the financial meltdown. Indeed, irrational phobias seem increasingly rational when life is turned upside down by recession.

Learning how to cope with our own fears may be the best bonus we will receive this year.

Happy Days for Chrometophobes

Every cloud has a silver lining. The economic downturn could be seen as a boon for those with a fear of money (chrometophobia).

Unfortunately, as with most phobias, the focus of fear (i.e., money) is only the strange surface of a more rational underlying stress – such as failure to manage finances or inability to afford everyday items. So, contrary to expectations, the occurrence of chrometophobia is made worse by difficult economic times.

Ultimately, freedom from fear loans life a greater degree of choice. Or, as Groucho Marx once observed: “while money can’t buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery”.

As for the rest of us chrometophiles we have our own money troubles to worry about.


Redundophobia…okay, I made that one up!

It is not surprising that the incidence of workplace fear (ergophobia) is facing competition from job loss phobia (sorry, no fancy name for this one… maybe “commonus sensicus”?). In the 12 months than ran up to September 2012, the NHS reported a 7% increase in admissions due to stress. It is speculated that this figure is due to rising unemployment.

In some situations, redundancy is unavoidable. But sometimes little tweaks to one’s work attitude can impress bosses and make all the difference when decision-time comes around.

For instance: coming to work a little early shows enthusiasm; work a little longer shows commitment; asking about other aspects of the business shows interest; requesting additional (minor!) unpaid responsibilities shows ambition and if all else fails: try flirting.

Peniaphobia is the New Normal

The irrational fear of poverty (peniaphobia) may not be as irrational as it once was. Fear of debt is a frequent symptom of this phobia. For example, American Hetty Green (AKA “The Witch of Wall Street”) was so scared of the idea of debt that despite being extremely wealthy she sent her son to a free pauper’s hospital. When she was recognised by staff she refused to pay the medical bills and, subsequently, her son had his leg amputated.

Although getting bank loans is not as easy as a few years ago, the UK boasts a well-regulated loan market that can help ease the fear of debt and avoid any unnecessary amputations. In 2010, the Office of Fair Trading recommended struggling consumers to use comparison sites in order to identify the loan type best suited to their needs.

Is Politicophobia the Sanest Response?

As world economies lurch from one disaster to the next, the fear of politics, politicians and governments (politicophobia) can seem entirely reasonable. However, signing up with Guy Fawkes and his party of pyromaniacs may not be the most therapeutic solution.

Most phobias can be overcome gradually through controlled exposure. For instance, a fear of heights (acrophobia) can be slowly improved by professionals who accompany sufferers onto elevated platforms, taking tea on an observation deck, and finally a stroll across a suspension bridge. Similarly, politicophobes should work their way up through slugs, worms and snakes before approaching a full-blown Member of Parliament.

Wendy Derbyshire is a writer who offers sound advice on financial matters such as how to apply for loans and great tips on effective budgeting.

Image courtesy of nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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