There’s an old Seinfeld bit in which the comedian talks about surveys showing that a surprising percentage of people fear public speaking more than death. “What this means,” Jerry concludes, “Is that the average person attending a funeral would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
It seems that when it comes to financial planning, a lot of folks feel the same way. Over the past few weeks, The Dime has run a series of “Would You Rather” posts on Facebook about money-related matters. The statistics were taken from this New York Post article, which got its results from CNote, a cause- and community-minded investment platform.
Our first post asked whether you’d rather drink orange juice after brushing your teeth or tell a friend your biggest (embarrassing) money secret (47 percent would). The second wondered who would rather spend a single hour in jail over mapping out one’s finances for the coming five years (just 20 percent chose this—but still: 20 percent!). And our last entry in this series compared standing in a two-hour DMV line to working on a detailed financial plan (32 percent opted for the DMV).
The takeaway? For a lot of people, thinking, talking, or doing something about their finances is about as fun as being stuck in traffic. (CNote also found that 34 percent of people would rather experience this than rehash their money mistakes with a financial pro.) And judging by your comments, a lot of you can empathize. (Our favorite was probably the reader who responded to the five-year plan post with a single word: “Jail.”)
This is certainly understandable, particularly for those who are young and struggling. Who among us hasn’t procrastinated their monthly bill-paying session or ignored a humiliating bank balance, hoping that additional funds would somehow magically find their way into the ol’ checking account?
Of course, such sorcery rarely happens, which is why our number-one goal at The Dime is to demystify financial planning so that you can face it with clear eyes and a full heart—or even better, a full wallet. Among our recent articles are why you shouldn’t wait even a short time to begin saving, how to roll your personal financial goals into your new year’s resolutions, tips about saving for the long term, and how financial stress affects your mental health. (Spoiler: It’s negative.)
So on the (very) off chance you ever find yourself contemplating whether to post a mortifying photo of yourself on social media versus a screenshot of your account balances—34 percent would rather do the former—don’t. Instead, stick around The Dime and discover the many ways we might be able to help you overcome your financial fears.