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Pretty much everyone feels that fear of missing out at some stage. FOMO tends to come with being human – and social media’s not entirely to blame, either.

Here’s what I mean.

  • If you head out overseas to travel, you can feel FOMO for not settling down. Or if you settle down, you end up feeling FOMO for not travelling the world.
  • If you do a degree, you can feel like you’re missing out on a job making money and truly living. Vice versa: if you go straight into work, you can end up feeling like you’re missing out on uni life and a degree.
  • Have a steady partner or a bestie for many years, and you can feel like you’ve missed out on other relationships. Or you can have many relationships in your life, then wind up feeling you haven’t truly connected enough.

For every experience you have – and some of those take big money to achieve – you can feel like it held you back from something else.

So even by getting out there and doing things, FOMO comes for you. Every choice can lead to feeling FOMO… if you let it.

Comparing downwards and upwards

We continually compare, which steals our joy. And it stokes our FOMO.

We compare downwards – towards those we view as less fortunate. This feeds our egos and can make us feel better about ourselves (although I wonder if it also gives us a bit of guilt about how lucky we are, too).

We compare upwards – towards those who seem better off. This unfortunately can fuel a bit of envy and low self-esteem. And it can lead to our overspending, either because we attempt to change our lives for what we think is better or because we’re caving in to social pressure.

This is where social media is a bit of a culprit, sending us down rabbit holes of content that can leave us in a very FOMO place. With a diet of only someone’s highlights through their feed, you can end up feeling bad about yourself and try to spend to fix it. Don’t compare your behind the scenes with someone’s highlight reel!

I really like following people who show the many failures – these typically get conveniently left out – that led up to the single success. It shows how rare and special that success really is.

Comparing upwards has its upside!

A bit of FOMO from comparing upwards can actually do you some good, too. It can be motivating for you to improve your situation, or even provide useful information on how to overcome difficulties. It can be aspirational.

And isn’t it great seeing other people living their best lives? We bask in the glory each time someone in our whānau or one of our colleagues succeeds or does something brilliant. This can inspire us… again, if we let it.

But we need to get past those fears of missing out. You almost need to ‘swipe left’ on the FOMO in your mind each time it surfaces.

Why you should just ‘do you’ and home in on your goals

One of my favourite sayings lately when people tell each other ‘You do you.” What they’re essentially doing is giving each other permission to do their own thing, to do something different and go beyond any FOMO they feel.

Do your thing! But what exactly is that?

There are heaps of possibilities your life brings, and despite the FOMO that comes with living, you need to push forward and make life choices. Most of the big goals take money.

A good place to start is at the end – the last step of our 6 Steps to get your money Sorted. Set your goals, then reach them!

Goals give you your ‘why’ when you’re saving and investing, keeping you focused. By reminding you why you’re doing it in the first place, it’s easier to set aside any FOMO, because what you’re working towards is well worth it.

Spend happily now in the present, save happily for the future

All this talk of saving and investing for goals can leave us feeling guilty, or even fearful, about spending anything.

Life is for living! What we’re after is a balance between happy spending now and happy saving for later. Aim to enjoy each moment, while keeping a long-term eye on your future wellbeing at the same time.

How happy is your spending? It helps to rank your money choices to make sure you’re getting the emotional return from them you need – all those things that leave you proud, excited or fulfilled. Any spend that is low on your scale can flow towards your future goals instead.

Building your happy spending – some fun money – into your budget is also a good idea. It makes that budget sustainable, meaning that it’s less likely you’ll scrap your spending plan.

Overall, making decisions based on fear – especially FOMO – doesn’t work out very well in life. Swipe away the FOMO (take a break from your social feeds if you need to), and give yourself permission to spend happily and save happily.

You do you!

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