A 2015 survey conducted by the Australian Psychological Society showed 18 to 35-year-olds report the highest levels of FOMO amongst adults. FOMO stands for ‘Fear of Missing Out’, which is the apprehension that other people are having thrilling and memorable experiences that you’re not a part of or involved in. 26% reported fearing that their friends are having more rewarding and richer experiences than them, 17% reported feeling affected when they find out their friends are having fun without them and 31% report being upset when they miss out on planned social get-togethers.
One of the many complications of FOMO is that it can drain your savings account, both immediately and over time. If we feel we’re missing out on items or social events, it’s no surprise many of us willingly splash around cash to keep up and additionally, to be seen to be keeping up with others on our social networking platforms.
FOMO can slowly become a bank drainer when you agree to go to paid events or book a holiday when you know you can’t afford it or by purchasing material things to keep up with your friends spending.
Although there are times when it’s completely acceptable to use Afterpay, overdraw your account or borrow money to attend a special event, it’s important to be mindful of how indulgent you’re being and how often, so that you don’t slide down a slippery slope of debt. Further to this, if we know that the lead cause of this overspending behaviour is due to FOMO, there are ways to combat this fear.
We’ve listed just 5 tips below on how you can work on avoiding FOMO like the plague, or at least minimising its impact on your life.
Create a FOMO emergency fund
If you know you’re truly a victim of FOMO and will inevitably cave, then creating an emergency fund to cushion this financial blow will benefit you in the long run. Have a certain amount in a bank account that you then top up when you’re financially able to, so when an unexpected paid event does arise, you can attend without feeling guilty or digging into your hard-earned savings.
Stop overspending on Sunday Brunch
If your girlfriends insist on an unsustainable bottomless brunch each weekend, there’s no way you’ll hit your savings goals and your weekly budgeting will be continually thrown out the window. Instead, suggest things to your friends that either don’t cost money or are a minimal spend, such as meeting for coffee or suggesting a nice walk to catch-up.
Take a social media break
If watching a friend’s Instagram story or consuming their newsfeed is triggering feelings of inadequacy and FOMO, consider cutting the head off the snake and deleting the apps for a certain amount of time. Social media platforms are continually updating, and it can be overwhelming, resulting in a lot of comparison and the never-ending urge for more.
Be honest with your mates
If you haven’t yet explained to your friends that you’re struggling financially and can’t afford to go to various social events they’re continually inviting you to, then it’s time to have a chat. If they’re good friends they will understand and respond with empathy and be more on board to suggesting cheaper and free activities to do. It may seem like they’ve been insensitive to your needs, however if you’ve never explained how you feel or the financial stress you’re under, you can’t expect them to realise.
Seek the advice of a financial adviser
If you feel you really are stuck in a spending cycle and need financial advice, there are financial advisers out there who can help you. Depending on what stage of the financial journey you’re on, you may just need help managing your budget so you’re putting more aside in savings, or you might need a money coach. When you do accumulate money, a full-service adviser who writes you a comprehensive plan might be what you need. There are advisers who charge a fee for their service and they work to help you invest your money, but you do have to have money there to invest in the first place! Switzer Financial Group’s Switzer Advisory is a specialised team of financial advisers who successfully help clients create, manage and protect their wealth through different investment cycles. It can help greatly to have an outside, objective view as well as to discuss your concerns with a trained and confident financial professional. But always choose an adviser you can trust and preferably one that charges fee for service, and doesn’t charge percentage fees or take commissions of any kind. It’s always best to shop around.