Overcoming FOMO in Personal Finance: Stay True to Your Financial Path
By: Varun Verma, MD
Published: Jan 4, 2024
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In the age of social media and constant connectivity, the “Fear Of Missing Out” (FOMO) has become a pervasive influence in many aspects of life, including personal finance.
I see many physicians, talking with great pride about achieving financial independence and early retirement – many have achieved this through real estate investments, real estate syndications, their own entrepreneurial ventures, and many other creative means. A few of these people have great incentive in “humble bragging” about their accomplishments. They either sell courses, books or masterminds and offer some sort of promise that you can replicate their success. This may be possible – but I think it’s best to remember the old adage that “pass performance does not guarantee future returns.” Many of the real estate investors in fact purchased properties in a 2.5% mortgage interest rate environment instead of the current 7.5%. With self promotion of social media we have a very limited view of the factors involved with a persons success; we often have no idea what their situations were with respect to working spouses, family gifts, income aside from their primary income that allowed them to take some risk in whatever made them success.
FOMO can lead to rash decisions in both investing and spending, as we’re constantly bombarded with images of others’ success and consumption. However, overcoming FOMO is crucial for maintaining a healthy financial life that is in line with your personal goals and values. Here’s how to resist the temptation and stay focused on your financial journey.
1. Understanding FOMO in Finance
FOMO in finance manifests in two primary ways: the lure of trendy investments and the desire to match others’ material possessions or lifestyle. When your friend boasts about their latest cryptocurrency gains or your neighbor flaunts a new luxury car, it’s natural to feel like you’re missing out. However, remember, every investment or purchase comes with its own set of risks and may not align with your personal financial goals.
2. Stick to Your Financial Plan
The antidote to FOMO is a solid, personalized financial plan. This plan should be based on your income, goals, risk tolerance, and future aspirations, not on the latest trends or what others are doing. Regularly revisiting and adjusting your plan can help keep you grounded and focused on your long-term objectives.
3. Educate Yourself
Knowledge is power. The more you understand personal finance and investing, the less likely you are to be swayed by FOMO. Take time to learn about different types of investments, their risks, and how they fit into a diversified portfolio. This knowledge will help you make informed decisions that align with your financial strategy.
4. Embrace Patience and Long-Term Thinking
Many financial mistakes are made in haste. Remember, wealth is usually built over time, not overnight. Embrace the power of compounding, steady investing, and long-term planning. Resist the urge for immediate gratification and remember that slow and steady often wins the race in personal finance.
5. Avoid Constant Comparison
In a world where everyone’s highlights are just a click away, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparison. However, everyone’s financial journey is unique. Focus on your path and progress, not on what others are doing or achieving. Their successes or failures don’t dictate your financial health.
6. Practice Mindful Spending
Before making a significant purchase, ask yourself if it aligns with your values and goals. Mindful spending means recognizing when a purchase is driven by FOMO rather than actual need or desire. This practice can help you avoid unnecessary debts and keep your budget on track.
7. Seek Professional Guidance
If you’re struggling with financial FOMO, consider seeking advice from a financial advisor. They can provide objective insights and help you stay focused on your personal goals, rather than getting swept up in the hype.
8. Celebrate Your Progress
Finally, take time to acknowledge and celebrate your own financial milestones, no matter how small. This positive reinforcement can help diminish the impact of FOMO and keep you motivated on your financial journey.
Overcoming FOMO in personal finance is about staying true to yourself and your financial plan. It’s about making informed decisions, practicing patience, and understanding that your financial journey is unique. By focusing on your goals and not getting sidetracked by the latest trends or others’ achievements, you can build a financial foundation that’s both strong and personally satisfying. Remember, in personal finance, the only person you should try to keep up with is the future you.
Varun Verma, MD ⇨
Dr. Varun Verma, a seasoned internal medicine physician, embodies a passion for public health advocacy and a deep-seated knowledge of the trials encountered by medical professionals. His expansive experience spans 14 renowned hospitals, including UCSF, the Brigham, Jefferson, and Bellevue. Alongside his wife, a dermatologist, Varun champions the physician-patient relationship and fosters community and solidarity among physicians.
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