Blog | Personal Finance

Women and Investing: The Upside and Downside of Fear

Attention women investors: Don’t let this four-letter word hold you back from reaching financial independence

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It’s my favorite month of the year: National Financial Literacy Month. It was created in 2004 to help raise public awareness about the importance of financial education in the United States and the serious consequences associated with a lack of understanding about personal finances.

The bill states, “that the President issue a proclamation calling on the federal government, States, localities, schools, nonprofit organizations, businesses, other entities, and the people of the United States to observe the month with appropriate programs and activities.”

Throughout the month of April, financial literacy will be the focus of my blog posts. And today, we kick things off with a topic near and dear to my heart: fear. How exactly does this tie into financial literacy? Let’s dive in.

Is fear an asset or a liability?

Whether you’re afraid of heights or terrified of public speaking, we’ve all experienced fear at some point in our lives. Perhaps it’s prevented you from trying a fun activity like zip-lining or kept you from making a presentation that would have resulted in a promotion. And when it comes to finances — specifically women and investing — fear can really impact our decision-making abilities.

A lot of first-time investors ask me for tips on overcoming their fear. And guess what? It’s normal to be scared to death when it comes time to buy that first rental property or to invest in that first business. Anytime you commit your hard-earned money to an investment it can be scary!

But is fear an asset or a liability? Let’s examine both sides of this confusing emotion.

The best things about fear

Fear exists within us for a reason — it alerts us to possible life-threatening situations, like hearing a strange noise late at night or while walking alone in an unsafe neighborhood. Fear could very well save your life because it makes you alert and makes you more cautious. Fear can also motivate us to take one extra look at the numbers on that rental property or to tune in to the special TV report about the industry in which we just bought stocks. As such, a touch of fear can help us avoid costly mistakes. A certain amount of fear can serve us well in life.

The worst things about fear

If you’re not careful, fear can have a destructive side as well. It can kill your dreams, opportunities, personal growth, passion, and your ability to live your life to its absolute fullest. The harmful face of fear is when it paralyzes us. When we’re immobilized into doing nothing. When we say “no” to the opportunity automatically, without even thinking. Fear makes it far too easy to fixate on all of the reasons why the investment is a bad, risky and unwise venture to undertake. Fear can also turn into an excuse that prevents you from doing something unknown or outside your comfort zone. When the fear of making mistakes, of losing money, of embarrassment or of personal disappointment wins, you lose.

4 reasons why every woman should embrace fear

When was the last time you embraced fear? Even appreciated it? Most women do everything they can to avoid doing the things that scare them most. Fear, after all, is a very uncomfortable thing. I don't blame those who want to avoid it!

But is avoiding fear the right thing to do?

In an interview with the "Harvard Gazette," Susan Hunt Stevens, the co-founder and CEO of a company called WeSpire, had some wise words for female entrepreneurs, "Just get used to the fear. There is constant fear. But it's so much fun, the fear kind of motivates you."

That is wisdom not just for entrepreneurs but also for all women who want to grow in life.

I've always believed that, when it comes to big life decisions, if you are feeling afraid, you're most likely facing down something incredible on the other side. The points in life where we grow and achieve the most are also the times when we fear the most. Once we face down that fear, the sweetness of victory or the lessons learned from failure are priceless.

I believe there are four key functions fear plays in a woman's path to success:

  1. Embracing fear is how we grow

    Fear can be the greatest asset we have. Every time fear comes up, and you’re clear it’s not life-threatening, that means you have an opportunity to grow and to expand yourself. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, it’s often through this type of agitated process that we grow the most. And when you come through the other side, it’s incredibly exhilarating! You are not the same person you were before the process. Instead of dreading fear, look it straight in the eye and know you’ve just uncovered your next level of growth — if you so choose to seize it!

    Perhaps Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: “He who is not every day conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.”

  2. Fear creates a decision point

    Because fear is uncomfortable, no one wants to stay stuck in it. When you feel fear, you know you must make a decision. Either you'll push through the fear and accomplish more than you ever expected, or you'll back down and return to what is comfortable. In either case, it forces you into a decision.

    The good news is that if you understand the dynamic of fear, you have power over it. When you realize that you are at a decision point, and that you, not the fear, are in control, you can choose to walk into your fear and discover what is on the other side.

  3. Fear stretches you further than you thought you could go

    By nature, we're creatures of comfort. The adage, "stuck in a rut," refers to how deer will take the same path to water from the woods over and over again, creating a rut over years. They don't ever take a different way because the rut works just fine for them. But if they come to believe the path is now dangerous, they will find a new path.

    In the same way, we often get stuck in the rut of safety and security. When this happens, we don't change and we don't grow. Rather, we atrophy.

    If you want to grow to be more than you are, you need a little fear to shake things up and set you on a different path. Thankfully, it's exhilarating when this happens — if you're willing to embrace it.

    The best part? The more you grow, the broader your horizons get and the less likely you are to return to old ruts!

  4. Fear makes you feel alive

    Thea Jourdan, writing for "Netdoctor," shares some of the benefits of fear: “Fear actually does have a profound physiological affect on the body, which evolved to help us in a 'fight or flight' situation.”

    The article goes on to quote Dr. Louise Selby, a GP based in Guildford, Surrey: “In the first few seconds, adrenaline levels soar — leading to a state of heightened alertness and the muscles are primed for immediate action. The heartbeat quickens and the rate of breathing accelerates. As soon as the fear diminishes, it's replaced by a sense of powerfulness and euphoria, which can be addictive.”

    Under the right conditions, fear makes you feel more alive than you ever have — especially when you conquer your fear and take a leap of faith! The sense of accomplishment that comes after facing down your fear is irreplaceable, and it makes you all the more ready to take down your next challenge.

How we can overcome our fear of investing

When it comes to investing, we’ve often stepping into the unknown. For many of us, we are doing something we’ve never done before — we have no experience and we don’t have all the answers, so no wonder the fear sets in.

One of the easiest ways to reduce fear is through education and experience. The more you learn and know about a certain investment, the more confident you’ll be in your decisions. The more investments you own, the more self-assured and knowledgeable you’ll become. Therefore, fear will play a smaller role with every investment. I’d suggest starting by reading my books, Rich Woman and It’s Rising Time if you’re ready to learn how to become financially independent.

If you're ready to face your fear of real estate investing, we have a great opportunity available for you.

Robert and I have developed a free webinar with one of our real estate partners, Rich Dad Education.

During the live, interactive webinar you will:

  • Discover where to locate the best areas of opportunity in your area

  • Uncover how to make cash utilizing the three types of wealth creation options

  • Determine ways to design a plan of action for your future

  • Learn leading strategies to find, fund, and finalize lucrative real estate deals

  • Attain proven was to create multiple sources of passive income

  • Develop the same successful winning mindset of Robert and myself

I was completely terrified through every step of my first investment — and I made mistakes that cost me money. But it got me off the starting blocks and paved the way for future investments. Slowly but surely, I gained more knowledge and look where I am today!

Investing is truly a process that you have to take one step at a time. And remember, it’s OK to fail. But it’s never OK to let your fear prevent you from achieving your financial dreams.

So, what fears do you have today? What dreams have you abandoned because the thought of chasing after them was too scary?

Now is the time to start putting a little fear into your life. Embrace the uncertainty. I promise you'll be better for it in the end.

Walk into the fear!

Original publish date: January 17, 2019

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