Here's Why Ramit Sethi Thinks Lots of People Love Feeling Anxious About Money

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  • Many people feel anxious about money, but finance expert Ramit Sethi believes people often "love" to feel this way.
  • He thinks people prefer this state because it's what they're used to.
  • To overcome financial anxiety, try making significant changes to your spending (such as by spending less on housing) to improve your situation.

Do Sethi's words apply to your situation?

Financial anxiety is common among Americans at all income levels. It's not just people with lots of credit card debt who worry about their financial state. Some middle class and even wealthy individuals compare themselves to those with more money in their bank accounts than they have and still experience financial insecurity because of it. 

Finance expert Ramit Sethi has a theory on why that's the case. He thinks people actually like to feel anxious about money for one simple reason. 

Do people actually want to be anxious about their finances?

So, why do people like worrying about money? "Deep down, a lot of people love feeling anxious about money because it's all they've ever known," Sethi said.  

Because of this, he explained that a lot of people aren't actually able to enjoy it when they have finally become financially secure. "I will spend my entire life to accumulate lots of money, but when I do, I will constantly downplay it and compare myself to the 'really' rich because I'm just middle class," Sethi explained is the mindset that many people have. 

Unfortunately, this can make it really difficult for people to ever actually feel comfortable with what they have -- even if they are lucky enough to get to a point when they have money in the bank that can meet their needs.  

It can also affect financial goal setting and people's willingness and ability to work towards financial independence, especially because, as Sethi explained, we have contradictory views about money in this country because "we love rich people, but we also hate them."

How can you overcome financial anxiety?

If you are anxious about money, it's important to understand both whether that anxiety is founded and what you can do about it. 

If you have a lot of fixed expenses taking up a good portion of your income, or if your job is insecure and you don't know how you'd pay the bills if you lost it, then there are different steps to take to overcome financial anxiety compared with if you're someone who does have plenty of money but just still can't feel comfortable because you grew up with financial anxiety or experienced it earlier over the course of your life.

If you are still at the point where you're trying to build wealth, the best way to overcome financial anxiety is to take the steps you need to actually become more secure. This could mean cutting down on some big expenses (like housing costs) to give yourself some breathing room. Simply giving up lattes or trying to cut a little bit of fun from your budget isn't going to be the best approach because this lifestyle is hard to sustain and can leave you constantly feeling anxious as you deprive yourself of things you enjoy to try to make ends meet.

If you've already done the hard work to start building wealth, though, the important thing to overcome anxiety is to decide what you need to feel like you have enough -- and stop comparing yourself to others because there will always be people out there with more. But if you have enough to meet your own needs now and in the future, your anxiety may not be serving you well and can prevent you from enjoying the fruits of your labor. 

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