Fear Factor

I have noticed more than a large dollop of fear around people’s attitude to money, and particularly crypto.  Fear is a very sensible evolutionary response; it keeps us safe from all manners of physical injury from predators and the like.  The threats inherent to our daily life may be a bit different from our prehistoric caveman ancestors, less sabre tooth tigers and the like, but annoyingly our brain chemistry is not.  The COVID riddled world is a truly frightening place, and quite understandably fear can cause crippling paralysis; often in a crisis the most dangerous option is doing nothing.  Luckily there is a lot of research around the psychology of fear, and how it can be best managed, which is hugely relevant to crypto right now.

This blog title was suggested by someone I find inspirational: she left her job of 4 decades, in shop that had employed 3 generations of her family, to create her own business interests across a number of industries.  One of these was some personal investing, which included crypto, in which she estimates her portfolio has now appreciated by 400%.  For her, these decisions have been life changing, and not just financially:  she describes how her decision to change track means “living my purpose and passion which now fills me satisfaction and fulfilment”.   It led me to ponder: what would YOU do if you weren’t afraid and finances allowed?  I imagine the list is long!  

Annoyingly, our brains are much more motivated by the negative than the positive.  You may have noticed during an election the campaigning doesn’t say “I am great, vote of me for these three brilliant reasons” rather, you tend to see “don’t vote for the other guy, he has done these three terrible things”!  Fear is culturally endemic, and the press had a field day with horror stories during the heady years of the first crypto boom in 2017, rife with bad coins and dreadful exchanges.  Fast forward a few years and the industry has some of age; there are UK based exchanges you can purchase crypto through, which are quite rightly under the FCA for anti-money laundering requirements.  Keeping you and your money safe in the crypto environment is crucial, so choosing the right exchange, with an A+ independent security rating is key.  Right now, I am now sure how much more good news you’d need to be convinced crypto is here to stay, with recent votes of confidence in crypto from Paypal, Visa, and JP Morgan!

One of my favourite descriptions of fear is “False Evidence Appearing Real”.  There is a lot of advice to really examine your financial fears in order to make peace with them; it is highly likely that pushing through the fear is less scary than feeling helpless.  In relation to finance, it is well worth really thinking about what exactly you fear.  It is often a combination of: being judged, failing, embarrassment, or jeopardizing our security and relationships.   Annoyingly a significant proportion of people believe themselves experts on crypto whilst having almost no knowledge – very frustrating, so be prepared to deal with haters and nay-sayers.  My least favourite type of negative person is one who has achieved nothing by never thinking outside the box or taking even the smallest risk – they also normally have the loudest voices.  I have done business all of the world, and found the British some of the most pessimistic folk on the planet – probably best to change the subject and talk about the weather!  

Of course no-one wants an investment to go down, even in the short term, and we cannot ignore that crypto is a volatile asset class which not everyone has the appetite for or ability to withstand.  

I therefore highly recommend a long hard look at the worst-case scenario, which is important for risk management.  I personally really like the suggestion to work out the absolute worst-case, bask in the best case, then expect somewhere in the middle.  For many crypto investors they are so horrified by the financial health of the economy they feel that they have no choice but to diversify.  I recently noted that the performance of Ethereum this year to date, has out-performed the American Stock Market 400 times over! Many people cannot afford to do nothing. 

A powerful prescription for fear is knowledge. Fear is often the manifestation of a lack of trust in ourselves; either knowledge or in taking action.  I’ve always felt that fear seriously detracts from your personal power.  Maybe, if we can manage fear, perhaps despite, or indeed sometimes even because of it, we can make better decisions.  Particularly in relation to personal wealth, forewarned is forearmed, actively seeking out flaws and weaknesses and doing something about them is a powerful means of problem solving and reducing the fear of failure.  It is easy to drown in information overload in crypto, which is why an exchange with free education, such as Dacxi, delivered in a jargon free and accessible way is really helpful.  

In my opinion when it comes to all matters financial, be really focused on what you are trying to achieve – I’ve already written a lot about financial goal-setting and it’s a topic we regularly discuss on the Women Who Crypto meet up.  Interesting, there is a reasonable amount of evidence to suggest that women are more prone to anxiety and phobias, and there is a feeling that women are financially more risk adverse.  To this end, it is important to focus on your “why”; are you trying to retire at a particular age? Holiday a certain number of times a year?  Only work part time? Financial freedom, of course, means different things to different people.  It also then makes it easier to surround yourself with people who have similar aims – the perfect support group.  

The FCA noted this summer that a significant proportion of UK retail investors are purchasing crypto as a gamble, and consequentially are only purchasing crypto in relatively small amounts.  I can see this changing in the coming months and years as it is taken more seriously as an asset class by the British public.  It is estimated, by Fidelity, that a third of financial institutions already own digital assets – they are not doing so with a “lottery ticket” mentality.  Currently, crypto, and precious metals, are outperforming every other asset and are a once in a generation opportunity.  

With the world in disarray there can be only one mantra: take a step towards financial freedom today, whatever that may be.  

Adventures of a unicorn is a business blog documenting the daily life of tech startup in hypergrowth.  Dacxi is a unique crypto business in the crowd lending space.  

DISCLAIMER:
All views expressed in this blog are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now or will be affiliated.

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