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Almost 1 in 5 people in the UK are more afraid of checking their bank account than spiders and heights has uncovered a scary statistic this Halloween as they reveal that almost 1 in 5 Brits are more frightened of checking their bank account than spiders, ghosts or heights.  

The study revealed almost 20 per cent of people in the UK have admitted that they are more afraid of looking at their bank balance than the more traditional fears while researchers at Cambridge University* have also discovered that ‘financial phobia’ affects more than 9 million people nationwide. The sufferers are well-adjusted but “become seized with anxiety, guilt or boredom when confronted with the need to manage their money” according to a spokesperson from the study.

Deborah Vickers, channel director at said:

“If heading to the hole-in-the-wall machine or checking your banking app brings you out in a cold sweat, you’re not alone. Getting the fear when you go to check your balance is a real phobia and it won’t go away if you ignore the problem.

It might start small such as simply not checking your balance regularly, but it can soon spiral out of control. From avoiding looking at your hole-in-the-wall receipt to avoiding tracking your expenses, and worrying about your card being declined, the vicious cycle continues.”

When something fills us with dread, our first instinct is to run away. Here’s how to face your fears this Halloween…

1. Make a list of what’s worrying you

Harness those worries and turn them into something positive! Sometimes your problems can seem insurmountable but by taking positive steps you’ll feel better about checking your bank balance when you know you’ve been making savvy decisions. Writing a list of what is troubling you, such as credit card debt, can put your worries in perspective and help you begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Try grouping the issues together and the solutions will soon become clear.

2. Stop worrying and start fixing

It’s easy to put off facing your problems until they get out of control. Once you have established what’s causing you the most worry, set out a plan to tackle the issues head on; they are only going to get worse if you ignore the situation. Fix the ‘easy wins’ first – try to consolidate debt into an affordable monthly repayment or compare the best balance transfer deals to make sure you are getting the best deals. Avoid contactless payments and use chip and pin where possible, this will make you consider how much things are costing.

3. Create a budget

Go through your monthly bank statement and cut out anything you can live without. Do you really need that latte on the way to work? How about you make your own lunch rather than eating out? These small changes are a great way to save money. Treat your monthly savings as another bill and you will soon have a buffer to help put your mind at rest. Plus, you might have a little left over for a relaxing treat!

4. Talk to someone

It’s not very British to talk about money, but you’ll be surprised how many people are feeling exactly the same as you. Speak to a trusted friend or family member and they could have some helpful debt advice from their own experiences. Or speak in confidence to an independent body such as the Citizen’s Advice service for practical advice on how to get out of debt. And if your worries start to affect your health, talk to your GP. 

5. Make paying your debts as easy as possible

There’s a lot more going on in your life than trying to make the books balance. Work and family life can take up all of your energy, leaving little time for anything else. As well as credit card consolidation, set up direct debits for bills and savings so you don’t need to remember to pay them each month. This easy trick means you won’t miss payments and rack up expensive penalties.

And finally, be realistic. Unless you win the lottery, your money problems are not going to disappear all at once. Do a little bit at a time, get some debt help and remember that you’re only human, don’t give yourself such a hard time

If your finances are bringing you out in a cold sweat, let The Guru guide you back towards the path of financial enlightenment. Visit the wisdom section and face your fears for good.