- For Love & Money is a biweekly column from Insider answering your relationship and money questions.
- This week, a reader whose household earns $250,000 asks how to reset their relationship with money to feel like they have enough.
- Our columnist advises changing their habits, choosing new goals, and considering therapy.
- Got a question for our columnist? Write to For Love & Money using this Google form.
Today’s question is a little different than usual: It’s not directly related to the reader’s romantic relationship. We’re running it anyway, because their struggle with feelings of scarcity is one many of us can relate to, no matter how much we make.
Dear For Love & Money,
I am a 33-year-old health care communications professional. My husband is also 33 and works at a software company. We started our careers in 2010, and it was a terrifying time to begin in the workforce. In the first few years, we were making only $39,000 a year and had two toddlers to feed. Needless to say, our budget was really tight for many years.
Now we are making more money than I could ever have imagined, but we work in non-passion careers that are pretty mundane. We make $250,000 per year combined.
I grew up in a relatively lower middle class home. My parents talked about our struggles with money constantly, and I took on a lot of that stress as the oldest child. As a result, I feel like I have a relationship with money that is pretty fraught and based on a scarcity I can’t shake. I never feel secure and I even had one friend ask me if I will “ever feel like I have enough.”
The thing is, we are big savers, and it’s not that I want to spend the money (we spend about $90,000 a year), it’s just that I am scared we will run out. Are there any books or resources to “reset” my relationship with money? I think that has really impacted the way that I’ve pursued my career (only pursuing “safe” opportunities) and the way I think about saving (only investing in less risky index funds with bonds, rather than real estate or riskier assets). I also just want to be a normal person who doesn’t check their Mint.com balance every day for reassurance and a dopamine rush.
Scared to Spend
Dear Scared to Spend,
I’m going to start by answering the question your friend once asked you: “Will you ever feel like you have enough?”
If nothing changes, you will never feel like you have enough money. Because your relationship with money is laced with fear. Money …….