The 3 paralysing emotions that will hold you back financially


When it comes to money, there are a few intense emotions most of us experience at some point that paralyse us financially.

I’ve struggled with every single one of these feelings, and if there’s one thing those battles have taught me, it’s this: we are our own worst enemies.

The mind is a powerful, powerful thing and that cuts both ways. It’s up to us to harness that power and use it to our advantage.


Regret that you didn’t negotiate that salary. Regret for all the money you spent on things you didn’t care about. Regret for the money you wasted on deadbeat exes.

As hard as these regrets are to stomach, there’s only one way forward: Accepting the past, learning from those mistakes, and moving on. We all move through this process at our pace, but sooner is better, and healthier.


Fear of losing an income source, of some financial disaster striking, of the unknown in general.

Living in a state of constant tension and low-level panic SUCKS and it takes its toll.

That’s where a solid savings buffer and good insurance cover come in – knowing you’ve got those safety nets to fall back on. And so too does making contingency plans.

Some people don’t like to imagine the worst-case scenario, but I’m the kind who needs to confront my worst fears rather than hide from them – to ask myself questions like “Has it happened before? What are the odds of it happening? What would I do then?”

In lots of cases, the catastrophes we’ve conjured up in our lizard brains are over-exaggerated. They have never happened and are not likely to.


Guilt for all that you have now, all the privileges you’ve been blessed with … and the fact that yet you want more.

But you know what I’ve realised? It does nobody else any good for me to struggle, to not have what I want, to play the martyr.

By taking care of myself first and flourishing, I can then turn around and help others. Giving back is fantastic, once you can comfortably and safely do so from a solid position.

Each of these are ultimately useless emotions, and I’m personally done with wasting my time and headspace on them! Find out how to conquer all of these – and much more – in my new course, Money Groove.  

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich.*


12 thoughts on “The 3 paralysing emotions that will hold you back financially

  • Reply Miss Balance July 12, 2017 at 22:49

    Are you in my head? This is me all the time! I agree they can be useless emotions, though they can also be good motivators too.

  • Reply Mrs. Adventure Rich July 13, 2017 at 05:05

    I’m with you, I battle with these three emotions on a regular basis. I also have trouble with second-guessing, but I think that boils down to fear. “What if this?” or “What if I get that wrong?” Haha- it can take work to try to get over them!

  • Reply Tim Kim @ Tub of Cash July 13, 2017 at 10:10

    I think I deal with Fear and Guilt the most. Fear is more of that low-level chronic anxiety. The fear of what might or might not happen down the road. Especially black-swan type events that could completely derail us. Guilt, I deal with too, because of exactly the stuff you mention. I’m already so blessed, so I feel like most of what I struggle with are first world problems!

  • Reply The Luxe Strategist July 14, 2017 at 07:41

    Of the three, for me, Regret is the strongest useless emotion for me, especially when it comes to real estate. I wish I had known that I could have purchased assets right out of college, but it never occurred to me. So to channel this productively, I’ve come to terms I may never own and am focusing on investing as much as I can.

  • Reply Amanda July 14, 2017 at 07:52

    Oh my goodness, I’m so glad you wrote this post! I am struggling with guilt lately, for exactly the reason you mention. It’s getting in the way of my gratitude practice, even!

  • Reply Mel @ brokeGIRLrich July 17, 2017 at 04:04

    I think regret is the one I have the worst time shaking – in a lot of areas of my life!

  • Reply GYM July 17, 2017 at 18:04

    Agree! Regret is the worst, especially when I regretted selling a stock too early for example. That’s why I take them off my “watch list” when I sell something so I don’t have to look back in wistful hindsight. Fear is also not great especially when the next market plunge will happen (because it will) because people end up panic selling (which is what I did to an extend 11 years ago as well).

  • Reply Mao July 18, 2017 at 02:16

    I personally deal with fear for the most part. Mainly being afraid of leaving the comfort of my corporate job. But more and more I am planning on taking the big plunge so I won’t have regrets down the road.

  • Reply Liz@ChiefMomOfficer July 19, 2017 at 12:53

    So true! Regret, Fear, and Guilt will hold you back. Plus they’re such useless emotions – spending time regretting and feeling guilty about past actions won’t help you succeed going forward. At least that’s what I tell myself when I start feeling badly about past decisions!

  • Reply Sarah (Smile & Conquer) July 19, 2017 at 15:39

    Good reminder to try and keep your emotions out of your financial decisions. I don’t have too much regret over money but I do feel guilty after making a big purchase, even if it is something I need and have budgeted for.

  • Reply Financial Muse July 27, 2017 at 12:12

    All of these emotions will hold you back in life. Not just your financial life, but also your personal one. I’ve recently read an interesting article about dealing with useless emotions. The rule is to think about what happened for ten seconds and then let it go. Sounds simple but is everything but. Commit and try it.

  • Reply Eliza July 30, 2017 at 16:25

    I’m very familiar with fear of losing everything! It’s why we haven’t started investing which is sending us totally backward. The crazy thing is, if we start small, it wouldn’t even matter if we did lose some money, but it’s just that fear of getting it wrong that’s stopping us from doing anything. Arrrghhh…..

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