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  • Jenn Steliga

Is FOMO ruining your financial well-being?

What do you do if your partner lets FOMO drive their spending habits? True, the concept of FOMO may have its origins in social media. Yet I hear all the time from clients that it’s their version – their understanding - of FOMO that led to excessive spending and often times the beginning of using credit cards and a downward spiral of not being able to cover those minimum payments.

If you are the saver in your relationship, your partner’s fear of missing out (FOMO) and its ultimate impact on your financial well-being, just might be driving you crazy. What should you do? Well, it depends on your partner’s overall personality style. But in general, the sooner you bring your concern into the light the better – for both of you. And your future financial wellness. Here are a few tips to consider:

1. Always, always preserve your relationship first. Approaching your partner with loving kindness and grace is, above all else, the most important element. No one wants to listen to a know-it-all.

2. Have a “dream” meeting with your spouse or partner. Identify all the things you want to do in life. Make a list and keep it on hand for one of the strategies suggested below.

3. One tactic is to show them the results of a retirement calculator. Based on your dreams for the future, show them about how much you’ll need to have saved to achieve these dreams by your desired deadline. Your dreams don’t have to be just for retirement – any compound interest calculator can do the trick here. For some, seeing this number will be enough to jolt them back into reality and realize that reckless spending now will diminish their well-being and happiness for their future self. For others, it might just have the opposite effect, and they’ll enter into all-or-nothing thinking (“that figure is just too high. I’ll never be able to achieve it. I might as well have fund now”). If you suspect that might be the case with your significant other, try this next suggestion first.

4. If you think the final number of how much money you should save to achieve your dreams is going to send your spouse/partner into a tail spin, then don’t go there just yet. Stick with the dream meeting and get a really rich, detailed description of what they want out of life. What’s their ideal self? Ideal future? Get tons of details to paint the picture. And then ask what their plan is to create this future and take care of their ideal future self. If they’re not sure, maybe they would feel more comfortable with you taking the lead and creating a plan. Now might be the time to show how much you need to set aside each month to reach these dreams, and then the bottom line.

For someone who struggles with FOMO the greatest challenge is for them to learn to reframe what it means to live life to the fullest and to be connected. What is it they are really afraid of missing out on? What fear is holding them back? What does it mean to them to be connected to others? Connected to life? Ask them these questions!

FOMO is just what it suggests – a fear and anxiety over not being connected with others. Humans are wired to connect. We were wired this way before social media and we will continue to be. But the advent of social media along with a multitude of other social factors, have led to a spike in intense anxiety about being left out, alone, and not connected (especially among millennials).

Fear is controlling the choices these individuals make and that’s unfortunate. There are so many choices to be made outside the control of fear. Chances are, with a bit of creative brainstorming the two of you will be able to come up with alternative experiences that give life true value and meaning, but don’t detract from your future-self’s needs and wants either. When you get in touch with your true values, and make choices based off those values, it becomes easier to say no to those things that don’t line up with the type of person you want to be or the type of life you want to live.

If the person continues to live their life with a FOMO philosophy and your finances are joined together, you may need to make some tough decisions to preserve the income you both work so hard for. If, after having the above suggested conversations they refuse to change, it’s time to draw some boundaries. Let them know that you are concerned that their choices are degrading your future well-being together and that if they’re not willing to make some changes you are going to take further steps. Perhaps that next step is to seek the advice of a financial coach or therapist. Sometimes the presence of an objective third party can help to clarify goals and some of the barriers stopping you both from achieving financial peace.


Reach out today to schedule your complimentary consultation. Working with a financial coach helps reduce anxiety and put you back in control of your financial well-being.

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