There are so many initials and acronyms that we see in digital platforms that we have to do an internet search on what they mean. It is very likely that one has noticed a millennial or Gen Z male using the terms “ICYMI”, “AFAIK”, “IIRC”, “ATM”, “SMH”, “IMHO”, “IRL” or “FTW”.
In this article, I will focus on two periods that may have gained traction over the past decade (2010) but — I’m willing to count the odds — you experienced these two terms earlier in your life: FOMO and FOBO.
Have you ever been jealous because while other people are having a good time, you are doing something else that is less enjoyable? How about feeling anxious because you might have missed out on something fun? FOMO, or “fear of missing out,” is feeling uncomfortable with the idea of giving up something that others are currently experiencing or enjoying.
It’s one of the traps we usually run into when it comes to personal financial planning (think of the adage “keeping up with the neighbours”). New gadgets, fashion outfits, food, travel – there’s so much we could miss! This psychological phenomenon deviates us from achieving our financial goals by making us spend today what we should have saved or invested instead.
How do we deal with this fear?
I suggest one has a financial plan with specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based or “SMART” goals. Your goals should also reflect what makes you satisfied and what makes your life worthwhile.
Once you have your goals, it’s now easier to let go of the next big thing that’s currently trending if it doesn’t currently fit into your plan. Or if you really want to get that tool, vacation, or something else, you can include it as one of your goals and work towards it.
Another perspective is to view imprudent spending due to FOMO as a step backwards from achieving your financial goals – think of the fear of missing out on (yes) a comfortable retirement, a memorable, well-deserved vacation with loved ones or having that insurance coverage that makes you sleep better at night for example.
On the other hand, FOBO, or “fear of better options,” usually leads to inaction due to waiting for a better alternative. An example of this is an applicant waiting for a job offer that is better than what is offered. In personal finance, one can drown in statements of funds or investment returns from various investment companies or from the extent of coverage from many insurance companies to the point of getting stuck and not being able to act accordingly, eventually hoping to get an investment vehicle or an insurance policy. Better coverage will be available.
Dealing with FOBO is just like dealing with FOMO – having a financial plan grounded in smart goals and one’s current financial resources. This comprehensive financial plan gives the individual or family a brief idea of the extent of insurance coverage required and the investment returns required to achieve financial goals, for example.
With a plan, one will not feel overwhelmed with the array of financial products available in the market as what is needed has already been assessed. Keep in mind that the financial products to be purchased must be appropriate and compatible with the goals of the individual or family.
In my opinion, experiencing FOMO and FOBO is normal. Denying its existence is like sweeping the dust under the rug. What is important is the awareness that both of these things exist and that we have an approach to dealing with it when it comes to our own finances – having a financial plan that addresses our financial responsibilities and goals that reflect what makes our lives fulfilling and fulfilling.
John Hero Salvador is a Registered Financial Planner with RFP Philippines. To learn more about investment planning, attend batch 99 of the RFP in January 2023. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org Or text 0917-6248110.