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Chrometophobia – Fear of Money

by Ryan Guina

Last night our daughter woke us up for a midnight feeding. While we were taking care of her, my wife saw a small, black spider scurry across the wall. My mission instantly changed from diaper changer to spider exterminator. For my wife, even a dirty diaper and fussy baby takes a lower priority when there are spiders around. You see, my wife suffers from a mild case of arachnophobia, the fear of spiders.

I tried to grab the spider with a tissue but it fell on the floor near our bed. I wish I had just smashed it on the wall, then cleaned it up – at least I would have killed it. Instead, I spent the next half hour searching in vain. I moved the bed, took off the sheets, removed the pillow cases, etc. The spider was gone. After a thorough search, we went back to sleep.

Most fears are based on emotion, not facts. Even though the likelihood of a spider bite is not very high, many people have an uncontrollable fear of spiders. There are only a handful of poisonous spiders in the US, and most of them are non-aggressive and avoid human contact. If you can learn to recognize which spiders are dangerous, try to avoid areas where poisonous spiders may live, and exercise caution around spiders, you will probably never suffer a spider bite. Spiders should have your respect, but there is no need to fear them.

Chrometophobia – the Fear of Money

Many people fear money. The term for this is Chrometophobia (also Chrematophobia). Money is a part of everyone’s daily life, and there are many reasons why people fear it. Money can make people uncomfortable, it cause stress and anxiety, and it can make people feel out of control. In many cases, these fears can be conquered.

How to conquer your fear of money

Understand why you fear money. The first step in overcoming your fears is to recognize your fear and understand why you fear it. It could be the fear of not having enough, the burden of debt, or other reasons. Think about why money causes you fear or stress.

Learn more about money. We fear things we do not understand. Learn about money by talking about it with your spouse or friends, read books, magazines, or websites, or watch financial shows on TV. The more you know about money, the less you have to fear.

Address your fears. Just like a spider, you should respect money, but not fear it. If living paycheck to paycheck is causing you anxiety, try saving up enough money to get you ahead one paycheck. If you feel crushed by debt, build a repayment plan to pay your debt off more quickly (see the debt snowball plan). The more quickly you address your fear of money, the more quickly you can overcome your fears.

Control money, don’t let money control you. Setting up a budget is a good way to get in control of your financial situation. Start by tracking your income and expenses for a month, then try to begin making a plan. You can use a simple spreadsheet or a budgeting program like You Need a Budget to make the job easier.

Seek professional help. Sometimes working on a problem by yourself is not enough. If you have tried multiple fixes and still haven’t found a cure for your fear of money, then you may need to seek professional help.

You can conquer your fear of money. Most problems that people have with money are based on emotions and not facts. If you can follow these steps above, you can address your fears and learn to control money instead of letting money control you. You don’t have to like money, but you don’t have to fear it either.


Published or updated April 21, 2011.
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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kristen

I don’t have a fear of money, but I’m with your wife when it comes to spiders! I’ve always been afraid of them. I did get bit by a spider several years ago (not poisonous, thank goodness), but the bite resulted in a staph infection. It was not fun, and it certainly did nothing to curb my fear of spiders. My husband sprays around our foundation and basement twice a year for bugs, and it really reduces the number of spiders and insects in general in our house.

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2 Hank

Wow! I learn something new everyday. I can’t believe that there is an actual name for the fear of money. I thought for a minute there that you were just making that word up. Another great word is scripophily, the study or collecting of old stock and bond certificates.

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3 Ryan

I had to look it up… the idea came to me in the middle of the night. I figured I should try and get something positive out of ripping apart our bed at 2 in the morning! ;-)

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4 Doctor S

I think I feer money b/c the problems related to it always snowball and it always seems like I need more and more of it. Money is probably the biggest reason people get divorced and that is troubling for me big time going into a marriage. Thats why I am trying to get my money right. I can honestly say I suffer from Chrometophobia.

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5 Ryan

I’m glad you are able to understand your fears and why you have them. That is the first step. You are also working on addressing your fears, so you are making progress. :-)

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6 Miranda

I think Doctor S has a good point. Sometimes it seems like it really is hard to take control of your money and that can cause fear. I remember a time in my life when it seemed there was always another bill to pay, and it seemed like the problems never stopped. I wasn’t afraid of money per se, but I was sure sick of having to deal with it. The hard course of learning to budget, put off gratification and pay down debt has been immensely helpful.

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7 ChristianPF

I can relate with the Spider hunt – my wife doesn’t like them or any bug with “antennas” so I get to chase them around as well ;)

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8 Laura

I didn’t know there was such a word, but I think I suffer from it. (And no, I’m not a hypochondriac!)

We’ve gotten ourselves into a major bind, and every time we think we are working our way out of it, and emergency comes along to knock us off our feet. And, yes, we are trying hard to get out of the debt and get an emergency fund – but when you finally find you’ve saved up a little bit, then the car breaks down, the washing machine goes out, a dear old uncle passes away out of town… suddenly you are back at square one again.

Now I know there is a name for what I have – the way I feel each time our savings drops to zero and we are scavenging to make enough money to get to the next paycheck because an emergency came up… don’t know that having a name for it will help me, but at least I’m not alone in my anxiety and depression over it!

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9 Ryan

Laura, You are not alone with having anxiety about money, and living paycheck to paycheck can certainly cause stress. The best advice I can give is to continue doing your best to make progress to build an emergency fund and save up enough to get one or two paychecks ahead. It takes work, time, and a little luck, but it can happen. :-)

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10 DDFD at DivorcedDadFrugalDad

Nice post. Human behavior is an amazing thing.

Now about those spiders . . . spiders have feelings too. PETA may be calling you on this . . .

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11 Linda Cervo

Wow… I haven’t realized this *chrometophobia* thing. I know someone who is so afraid of money, and this makes sense… I’m glad, I don’t have that phobia about that money. =)

However, about spiders… I have those feelings, too… It makes me unease if there’s a spider in a room, even though, it’s far from me… hahaha!

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12 Ray Paterson

Have tried all the above but my fear of all things financial seems to be more deep-rooted than most, and just using the tools you have suggested, does not help me. I have an autistic spectrum disorder that encompasses many different “phobia’s”. Don’t get me wrong the tools will probably work for most people but I have an underlying “fear” of people always wanting to “take away” whatever I have earned. My partner wont help me understand her budget, which, like most females, is in her mind, and I prefer web based software programs that provide more graphic tools, the company I work for always seems to “screw me” in my monthly pay cheque. I know its my money but I fear challenging them about it in case I am wrong.

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