I have discovered, or rediscovered perhaps, that I am desperately terrified of being poor. (By poor, I mean having all my money run out. I couldn't think of a better word, my bad).

This is not because I come from a family that is rich, or has even been all that well off until recent years. The only time that my parents felt financially comfortable was the latter half of my teenage years. I am not saying that we were ever even below the poverty line, mind you. The real problem is that it's not what you actually have that truly counts, but the attitude towards what you don't have. And in this case, I appear to have been deeply imprinted with the unspoken attitudes toward scarcity that existed in my family as I was grown up. That sort of stuff you don't realise you have, unless you dig right deep down.

After all, I have pretty much always had anti-materialist and anti-consumption values. The excesses of the super-rich appal and horrify me. I do not believe that happiness has anything to do with the accumulation of newer or more or better stuff. I have mostly second hand furniture because of an environmentalist ethos, haven't bought new clothes in years.

Perhaps that's what threw me off the track. If I don't really have much need for money, why would I be afraid of being poor?

And yet, there it is. Lurking so large that if I was to go and stand underneath its shadow, I would collapse, overwhelmed.

What on earth will I do when the money runs out?

I don't have the courage to find out. Or to even really work through the idea.

Here is an interesting lesson that I have learned from it though. Being independent and self sufficient is actually a fallacy if you are able to do so only because of money, because it has no truth. Of course, any good Buddhist, or follower of the Abrahamic religions knows this. And anyone who has lived hand to mouth might well find this story causes incredulity.

But it is what it is. An irrational phobia, and those things are never rational, funnily enough.

I don't have the courage to face it, so I think I will just go solve the financial situation by working. (If you can't see the problem with that, it's because that would be me fleeing fear rather than facing up to it. Sure, we should all contribute to society, and do what we can to support ourselves, but that really, really, really isn't the point).
TheTardyDodo TheTardyDodo
31-35, M
33 Responses Dec 24, 2007

Why am i getting notifications for a post 9 years old?

Agree so much dear!

better word: BROKE

so,what happens if u cant work?? like me ,,,,in 1995 i was injured on my job and retired against my wishes ,,,in 2000 my wife filed saying she couldnt look after me now i was partly crippled,,,since then my condtion has got steadily worse ...as i took retirement i am not entitled to compensation ,,the railways were privatised and washed their hands of many like me ,,within a couple of years all my cash ran out and i live on state benefits that dont even cover my fuel and food bills anymore ,,,so i have to balance my spending so that some weeks i live on frugal supplies ,,everything i own is secondhand or salvaged from skips and dumpsters ,,i have learned to remake stuff to a fit state to use ,, personally i think you fear the fear ,and not the "situation " yourself and you are more worried about being ostrisised from society and its " standards " as it dictates who u are ,,,well i am me and have found much strength in knowqing i am still as good if not better than most as being totally poor has taught me better values in life ,,,tho money would be wonderful to have i need to have acceptance that in my condition its not coming to me anymore ,,,,once you are comfortable with who you really are inside ,,,,being poor has little effect on your inner being and you find true happiness in the smallest things and places you forgot were there as money made you ignore them ,,, now i have everything ,,and i mean just about everything ,,,it just turns up in my travels ,,as b4 i didnt pay life proper attention having money in abundance ,,,now i see the world in a clearer way and its so cool ,,,,, i hope this helps u yours fran

"Of course, any good Buddhist, or follower of the Abrahamic religions knows this."<br />
<br />
You mean any **wise** person who follows any religion's basic principles. Indeed. Ultimately, we all learn that money isn't the ob<x>ject of our happiness. I am neither Buddhist, nor a follower of Abraham and I've sufficiently learned the basics. I'm a Pagan, myself, but I'm sure Atheists are also capable of learning those basics, too.<br />
<br />
Regardless of what religions or non religions tell you about money "not being the root to happiness," it's always -first hand- experience that actually **teaches** you, as opposed to repeated words in any book. Ask any teenager who's heard words over and over and over and still didn't learn the lesson until they gained the experience.<br />
<br />
Sorry you had to endure such troubles. I grew up in the ghetto as a child so I understand how **absolutely heart-wrenching** it can be to stand near (and occasionally bellow) the poverty line. <br />
Maybe when you have children of your own you can conquer this shadow by seeing them live a happier childhood. Who knows?<br />
<br />
Many blessings your way, may you conquer your fears and never know them again.

Being poor isn't as bad as it is made to sound, I am disabled and my husband is on Social Security, we live on less that one thousand dollars a month.<br />
We are happy, eat well and do just fine - it's mostly mind over matter, if you don't mind...it don't matter/<br />
We have learned that we don't need the newest and latest gadjets and toys and we get a lot of second hand items - it really isn't a big deal.<br />
Yes, I would prefer to be able to work but I am not able to so we adjusted our lives and found out that money isn't always the true road to happiness!

I always worried about being broke. I have dreams of travelling and constantly losing everything, and then not having a place to live.

I have been poor much of my life and I find your story honest. Thank you for sharing it. I have one question though. If you have decided to solve your financial worries by working aren't you just putting your trust in your work or your money or both?

You have made me feel lucky not to have ever had loads of money I work hard do not earn alot but live from week to week you get used to it.

I'm poor and I'm scared of being that way until I die. All I need is a small-income job, that's enough, but my current situation... egh.

Just a thought.<br />
Money, to me seems to be the least of your worries.<br />
I would be more worried that I don't have a friend who would help me pack a box.<br />
<br />
We may live in cities, or in the country, but most of us do things during our lives that interact with others. So even if I live in a city, the people I meet each day are MY VILLAGE. <br />
The wealth of the village is less important than the cohesiveness of its membership.<br />
If you have the necessities, any extra is gravy.<br />
What is more important is a sense of belonging in your village. What your real fear is, is that if you use all your money, you have not interacted enough with your villagers. You don't know them, and they don't know you. So your money is all you have. They will not help you if they don't know you.<br />
That is your fear.<br />
<br />
Get out there and make friends with the person who sells you your bread. Make friends with the lady down the street who always says hello to you as you rush by her. The paperboy, the barber, the letter carrier, the guy walking his dog by your window 3 times a day.<br />
Buy a dog, and walk it. Rescue a dog from the pound and walk it 3 times a day. Before you know it, you will know all kinds of people. You will learn about your neighborhood. Would it be nice for someone to say hello to you?<br />
When you share a cup of tea with people, you connect with the village.<br />
It is the village that sustains you, not your money.<br />
You are starved, not poor.

3 years later I read this and had an aha moment. Thank you for your clarity. Read about sharing a cup of tea... But you are right. It is about being alone and no one giving a care as we see daily in the paper. There is so much more good stories and sharing in this world that is not written about that we need to celebrate. Thank you.

You can't imagine how poor I am. I sometimes don't even know where my next meal will come from, I steal everything I get. I can't even get a drivers license or even a state ID. I lost all my ID's and paperwork in a flood, and all of a sudden, I don't even exist. <br />
<br />
But, I live in a very nice apartment with my wife and three kids. This country has gone to ****. I can't even get a job washing dishes, I live completely out of society even tho I drive around it all the time. I wish things were different, I wish a lot of things, but life really sucks.<br />
<br />
I have been a homeless person in Alaska and never felt as poor as I do where I am now in Texas.

Myself, I no longer work for money. I watched a film called Zeitgeist and it changed my perspective on everything. I will no longer support this capitalist economy, based on debt. I refuse to pay interest on a debt I did not incur, to make rich some banker who lent money to my ancestors that they created out of thin air. I also have a moral problem with paying a government that will use the money to kill people. In my opinion, financially supporting a killing makes you as much a part of it as the one who dropped the bomb.<br />
<br />
I want to encourage you to try living without earning money for awhile, consuming only that which is free, or is freely given. The experience will enrich your life, and will help you to live your life without fear (truly priceless). There is a website that I use that will help you find places that will give you a place to stay for a few hours of work, it's free to use. http://www.helpx.net/

Try looking at the fear as a part of yourself, one you may not enjoy but its there and part of you. Accept it the same way you would a terrible allergy or bad knee. Yeah, its there, you don't like it a bit and you have to make minor changes to live with it. But it doesn't have to define you or take up a lot of your energy. Distract yourself by figuring out a totally random way to help somebody else (not related to poverty).Compensate by becoming really good at something. Get on with life anyway and just mentally shrug when those scary thoughts pop up. Not every fear or condition has a solution, but we are able to adapt to darn near anything.<br />
The more you focus on it the more powerful it becomes.

Actually fear of poverty is normal and valid I think. I think its pretty standard , now that most of us don't have the option (because of ownership and citification) of just living a nomadic free wheeling hunter/gatherer lifestyle monetary exchange for goods and services has become a way of survival for most of us. It doesn't mean you are materialistic it means you care if you survive or not... that's a good thing.

same thing here

True, no love = no money

Being poor is relative. One may not have enough food for the month but has housing, can feel very rich because they have love within them. not having material things means we can live without them, but we cannot live without love within us. <br />
<br />
It is my experience that anyone who expresses a fear, will most likely have to face that fear, so then you will know that not having material things is really not that important.

I read somewhere that said, "To feel it ,is to heal it"

WoW! here's a thought, or better still change your thought patterns about your life and the rest will follow. If you continue to have that fear (negative thought) of what ever may or may not happen in your life then where else is it to go. Change it to the positive of what may or use affirmations in your every waking life and watch, feel to see it change , now just in joy and respect that it is giving you what who want. It really is that easy once you get the hang of it.<br />
I read a book some years back called "You can heal your life" I think I have that right. The author if I recall is Louise Hayes. Very in lightening, helped me make many if not most thought patterns in my life for the better. Mind you nothing comes that easy without practice. If you have been expecting the worst to happen in your life it will most certainly take that much time to turn it around. <br />
Good thought patterns to you all from one who continues to work at it every waking moment ... now if that's not working hard and getting paid in something more then the almighty dollar, it's the almighty power that you give yourself daily.

i come from a very rich family as you and i got exactly your fear when my mum bankrup in 1998 and she sell the last house we live in<br />
<br />
i become totally lost my self and become a very different person<br />
that is a very valid fear

I agree with ^^^^.Love is wonderful,but it runs out,and the bills will still be there next month,even if your honey isn't.

It is a very valid fear, and one you can try to avoid now that you are young. Put money aside, excercise, eat properly, etc. Basically, do all that you can now and continue to, until you do retire. <br />
<br />
AND please...know one take offense to this...but one thing I have learned thru "MY" experiences, is make sure you have money hidden. Do not tell anyone you have it. Not even your spouse. Not all spouses are mean, but if you want security for yourself, then you have to think of only yourself. It's easier to use someone elses money, before your own. Its like the saying "you give someone an inch and they will take a mile.". Especially, if they know you have that mile. Don't look as if your lieing to anyone, including your spouse, about the money you have hidden. If the person stays with you until retirement, then he/she will have additional security. If he/she doesn't stay, then you still have the money you will need in the future. I wish I would have done it, when I had the chance.

once again i agree

I wouldn't say I'm afraid of not having money, more I'm highly aware that money (jobs to) can run out, I'm only truly afraid that I'll lose money towards the end of my life and not be able to retire, haft to choose between food and medicine, get seriously ill not be able to afford treatment and die before my time,etc. and secondly going without good health coverage is scary, because what if i get sick (cancer runs in my family so if i do I'll likely get that) and I'm not able to afford treatment?medical debt is so easy to get into. It truly worries me. I've been dirt poor, now i'm above the poverty line, but only by a few thousand, and I wont say that money equals happiness, but it certainly makes things easier. But fear is worthless if it's not ob<x>jective, so I make my fear productive and try to ensure that my financial situation is good and stable, and can withstand lives little curve balls.<br />
I don't love money, but i love financial security, and I like to live a comfortable lifestyle that allows me to have the things I enjoy, and i intend to live it. I think it's a perfectly valid fear, especially with the recession.

I wish I knew how to deal with that fear myself. I had a great career, husband, money, kids, friends, and the hole bit. I was extremely happy, until out of the blue I got sick. Husband divorced me for being sick and was forced to live with my parents. I ended up on SSD making $6.87 an hour, when you calculate it out. I loved working and Ive always tried to support myself. However, when I got sick, my life had no hope. Not be able to afford your own place, not afford to feed your own kids, stuck on welfare, being a slave to parents who treat you like a kid. Its a horrible feeling and it scares me, as living in the street is becoming more and more real. Im still sick, so how am I suppose to work? SSD only pays you less then minimum wage, so how do you find an apartment to live in? How do you raise your children, so the state doesn't take them from you? I havent found one friend who was willing to help pack a box, neverless help feed you or your kids. When you have no children, you can live anywhere is you have to. But when you have children, that fear is very very real and can happen at a time when you least expect it. <br />
<br />
My best suggestion, is watch your health and pray that you never get sick, so you can continue working. Once you get sick, everyone abandons you and you will be lucky if you even have family member to help.

i agree

That fear you have is a universal one, it has to do with our survival instincts, need for social interaction, self esteem. Virtually everybody has that fear, but you have to learn to tone it down and make it livable by taking control of your financial situation as much as possible. Live well within your means and do your homework before making any big financial decisions. Get professional when you need to, a good financial advisor, accountant, mortgage broker. I have over 20 years in the investment business and I have seen people inherit money and totally freak out. Money is a powerful force, best managed with a reasoned, deliberate approach. You can do it!

Have you considered staring your fear in the eyes without giving up your material possessions? Try volunteering at a homeless shelter. Spend an extended amount of time there until you really see the patterns behind people and their situations. Once you watch a number of people start their lives over after hitting rock bottom, you may find that living their experience vicariously has helped you overcome your fears.

You know, I read this the first day I found EP, and I wasn't going to comment, but I have been thinking about it ever since. When you say that getting a job is running from your fear of being poor, well, I think that is just ridiculous. I don't really give a crap about contributing to society, but hell yes you should support yourself! Haven't you ever done something for the satisfaction of it? And happened to get paid for it? Working doesn't have to mean that you're giving in to the man, and it doesn't have to have anything to do with consumerism or materialism. You say that you can "manage a fix" for your various neuroses, but that that won't get you anywhere. I've read a lot of your stories, and looked at all your groups, and it seems to me like you are a really smart person being held back by a lot of insecurity related issues. Nobody wants to be poor, but to boil it down, are you really saying that you think working is a cop out to facing your fear of poverty? Because that really is irrational. Not the fear of poverty, I know what that looks like, I live with a person for whom just thinking about running out of money can trigger a "spell". I think your fear is really about something else. This same person has taught me how easy it for supremely intelligent people to use their mastery of language to make the issue about something entirely different in order to avoid the actual heart of the problem. If you think that way, then move out on the streets. Get yourself a nice big box, maybe a shopping cart, and that would facing up to a fear of poverty. And hypothermia, malnutrition, panhandling- a lot of scary things! I really am sorry if that sounds harsh, I do think you're cool, but this I had to weigh in on.<br />
I'll tell you something- I used to positively drown in fear and self loathing. I remember sitting in my apartment, looking outside at beautiful afternoons, thinking how I should go out, go out to the barn, go for a walk, anything. I coudn't do it, the thought of having to talk to people, have people look at me and judge (of course, they all were!) made me paralyzed. I've had kind of personal journey since then, and I have a completely different perspective. Between myself and my significant other, I have learned a lot about asking the right questions to get to the heart of things that look really different on the surface.

I dont think it's an irrational fear- my last year of college i had to couch surf because i couldnt work and do my senior research at the same time..<br />
<br />
it is sucky... and a bit scary to know that everything you need to live is dependent on the charity of somebody else- no matter how much stuff you have.... to worry if the bills will get paid on time and if you will continue to have hot water and heat...

I think the part of the fear that is irrational is that it is actually highly unlikely that i would ever starve to death. I have plenty of stuff to sell, friends that I haven't talked to for ages, but would probably still feed me and house me provided i promised to look for work, and have family that would do the same, probably without that qualification.<br />
<br />
And when you look through the ages, it does seem to be the consensus opinion that wanting material possessions are a barrier to true wisdom or enlightenment or fearlessness?<br />
<br />
And it's very true. I think I would have to give away all my material possessions before I truly faced that fear.<br />
<br />
Now *that* would be a true personal challenge!

I get the feeling that funlovingfestiveflirt made that comment with good intentions though... in the spirit of "you gotta learn to relax dude!!!"<br />
<br />
Which, is definitely true. <br />
<br />

*nods to both bluegeorgia and funlovingfestiveflirt*<br />
<br />
Valid points, indeed.<br />
<br />
But where's the courage in running away from your fears? Sure, I can manage a fix for pretty much all my fears and insecurities, but where will that ever get me?<br />
<br />
I've been a high functioning neurotic all of my life. It's not the best way of living.

If the money rubs out my friend, You go to work. : )<br />
That;s always been my solution to that problem.<br />
Happy Holidays