F.O.M.O., or fear of missing out, leads us to make questionable financial choices. We don't want to miss out on the cool and exciting things our friends tell us they are doing, from skydiving to traveling to buying the newest clothes. In today's age of social media influence, it seems like F.O.M.O. is intensified. We can see into the lives of everyone we know (or don't know) and get a glimpse into their super perfect lives. Or, so we'd have each other think. This leads us to try to one-up each other and keep up with the Joneses when we can see the Jones' adventures every second of every day. So how do we avoid falling into the F.O.M.O. trap?
See Through the Facade
Have we not all been guilty of presenting the perfect life to some degree on social media? We don't like to air our dirty laundry online, so what we do post tends to be the ideal aspects of our lives, our fancy dinners, vacations, cars, or clothes. When all we see from people are the picture-perfect parts of their lives, it distorts the way we view our lives and our messy bits, thinking we aren't as fancy or put together as they are. Will Rogers said it best when he stated, "Too many people spend money they haven't earned to buy things they don't want to impress people they don't like." Remind yourself that none of us live the perfect lives we display on social media.
Challenge F.O.M.O. Thinking
When you see F.O.M.O. creeping in, don't hesitate to challenge your thinking! Remember, no human being is capable of being on and perfect at all times. We all binge Netflix or eat whole pints of ice cream in our underwear, we just don't put it online. We're all humans, and we all do human things, so challenge F.O.M.O. thinking by not feeding those thoughts and re-humanizing all those perfect people on social media.
Set YOUR Financial Goals
If you have a plan in place, it will be much easier to say no to the oft impetuous urge to spend money in the quest for social media glory. If you have goals that you are actively working toward, they will come to mind when the urge to spend comes. If you have a budget, each dollar will have a job to do and random chaotic spending will have no place in your life.
Accountability, Accountability, Accountability
Talk to your loved ones or have a trusted financial advisor to bounce your thoughts and ideas off. Every great thinker has had people to tell them when they are having not-so-great-thoughts. Accountability will stop you from acting on the genius idea to buy a boat when you can barely afford your mortgage.
Be Intentional, Focus Inward
When you are intentional with your spending, you set yourself up for success with your finances. By focusing inward, on your spending habits and your debts, and your financial goals, you take your attention off the spending of others. This inevitably kills that F.O.M.O. on your neighbors’ trip to Italy, that they put on a credit card they can't afford and keeps you away from financial ruin.
Following these simple guidelines, you can keep yourself out of the F.O.M.O. trap and save your financial future. You can live a life that is free from debt, with zero monthly payments and no desire to keep up with the Joneses, because you will be focusing on building wealth for your own family.