Here's How To Figure Out If FOMO Is Draining Your Bank Account

by Jenn Ryan

Would you rather miss a party or go bankrupt?

You'd rather go bankrupt. No, really, you would. Fear of missing out (FOMO) has gotten millions of Millennials in trouble for spending way beyond their means.

You can't stand the thought of what's happening at that party without you. You'd rather have to hustle for cash at the end of the month than miss this one night of entertainment.

When it comes to your finances, FOMO can hugely impact what you spend your money on. As a result, FOMO is forcing people of all ages to get into debt.

However, Millennials are the most likely to suffer from FOMO, and a reported 56 percent of social media users are victims to FOMO and its ability to induce anxiety at the thought of missing out on an experience.

It's time to get real about FOMO. Discover whether or not you're impacted by it, then realize just how much it impacts your finances and what you can do to counteract this negative spiral that could lead to bankruptcy.

Assess yourself: Do you suffer from FOMO?

If you use social media, it's likely you have at least a touch of FOMO. FOMO is linked to a deeper feeling of dissatisfaction in your life. People who suffer from self-esteem issues tend to be creeping on social media, seeing what others are doing and constantly comparing others' lives to their own.

Does this sound like you? Here are some other symptoms of FOMO:

  • Incessantly checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and email.
  • Having an irrepressible desire to be a part of every event, or saying yes to everything.
  • Questioning and feeling unsettled regarding your decisions, both at work and at home.
  • Doing things you don't really want to because you're afraid of what will happen if you don't.

These symptoms tend to make the sufferers feel intense stress or anxiety, but it also leads them to spend money in order to feel less disconnected from people and less dissatisfied with their own lives. People don't often realize spending money is often just a reaction to FOMO.

Realize FOMO hugely impacts your finances.

You might not be giving much thought to the fact your paycheck gets largely spent on manicures with the girls, drinks with your buds on the weekends or someone to watch your kids while you go check out a new place with your friends. In this way, FOMO hugely impacts your budget and what you can and can't afford.

FOMO can easily lead to debt because in order to stave the anxiety that comes from your FOMO, you'll do just about anything, including blowing through your income.

Saying yes to all different types of events can not only lead you to be stressed out (therefore causing health problems and sick days at work), but also to focus less on the real priorities in your life because you're too focused on what others are doing.

Jon Long, a bankruptcy attorney at Long, Burnett, and Johnson, PLLC, sees how debt impacts his clients, especially Millennials.

Long told Elite Daily,

Millennials are beginning to face the bad choices of their young adulthood, and developing a plan to deal with debt is important. More and more often, decisions on employment and housing are using credit worthiness as a factor. Millennials are more likely to change jobs or careers frequently compared to generations past and having solid credit may become necessary.

When you suffer from FOMO, you're always seeking, evaluating, and comparing. But, you're always focused on other people. Focus your attention inward rather than outward.

This will lead you to feel more at peace with yourself, accomplish your goals and stop spending money on things you don't actually want to be doing or things you can't afford.

Recognize what you can afford.

Making a budget sounds like a very responsible thing to do, doesn't it? You may think you're above it, but creating and sticking to a budget makes you wise beyond your years. It can also help you to deal with debt.

Long told Elite Daily,

There are many options available for dealing with debt. A good budget and plan to pay off your debt one step at a time may be all that is needed. It may be possible to negotiate payment of an amount less than is owed with your creditors. Bankruptcy may be the best or only option.

Before saying yes to events, recognize if you can actually afford the event. A distant friend's wedding across the country? A 10-day yoga retreat in Costa Rica? Non-matinee movie tickets?

Everyone's budget will vary slightly. What's feasible for you may not be feasible for someone else and vice versa. The point is to recognize what you can afford before giving in to FOMO. If you realize you're prone to suffering from FOMO, this will help you to become more conscious of your spending decisions.

Plan for the future.

Pay off your debt, open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or even just a savings account, whichever you'd like, and try to contribute at least some of your income. This money won't be for FOMO moments, but rather for retirement or emergencies you actually need to attend to.

Keep your FOMO spending to an absolute minimum because you'll be experiencing that FOMO a lot more later when you actually have zero money for things you really need, like food. FOMO becomes less about a missed party and more about a missed meal. So, get real about FOMO and your finances!

Citations: What is FOMO? (and How to Beat It) (LifeHack), Report: 56% of Social Media Users Suffer From FOMO (Mashable), 3 Steps To Fight FoMO — The Fear of Missing Out (PsyBlog), How do I create a budget? (Duke University), Top 10 Ways to Prepare for Retirement (US Department of Labor)