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Is FOMO your worst enemy?

March 9, 2018  |  #Money Management

Does the overwhelming fear of missing out make you stray from the budget?

You’ve been eyeing up a certain something online for a while now – maybe it’s a nice pair of shoes or a phone. It’s just more than you can sensibly afford and you know you don’t strictly need it, so you’ve been good and held off. But then you check on it again and see “Only one left in stock!” and the next thing you know, your credit card is in your hand and you’re punching those digits into the checkout screen.

Does this sound familiar? It may just be that the fear of missing out (FOMO) is stopping you from staying true to your saving strategies.

Do you suffer from “Fear of Missing Out?” Don’t let it deviate you from your financial goals. Contact one of our advisers today.

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Identifying your FOMO

If you’re struggling with an apprehension that others are having more rewarding experiences than you, you’re not alone. In fact, almost a quarter of Australian adults experience FOMO, according to the Australian Psychological Society’s Stress and wellbeing in Australia survey 2015. This negative emotion can affect mental health and influence our spending judgements. In truth, giving in to FOMO is a kind of self-sabotage, because it causes us to impulse buy when we simply don’t stand to benefit from it in the long-run.

young child with dog looking outside a window

There’s a whole world to experience out there, but don’t let your FOMO lead you to overspend.

So, how can you determine if the fear of missing out is really affecting your spending?

  • Regret: Like a bad night out, FOMO purchases can leave you feeling guilt and regret in the morning. You might even catch yourself trying to justify your purchase with your guilt – “I feel bad but this feeling means I won’t do it again”.
  • Rationalisation: Often, people will attempt to rationalise bad spending using their FOMO. For example, you could use a big sale to justify purchases by proclaiming you’ve made huge savings – but if you’ve bought something you didn’t need simply because it was discounted, have you really saved anything?

How to fight the FOMO

Work room into your budget for your FOMO-driven purchases.

Once you’ve identified how the fear of missing out is holding you back from achieving your financial goals, what are you going to do to change your habits?

Sympathising with your future-self is one strategy. You’re trying to save money for a reason – and that likely comes back to the desire for financial freedom. Rather than enjoying momentary happiness from your FOMO purchase, think about the security and stability you’ll have in the future if you save your money instead.

That said, is it ever really reasonable to suggest that you should be miserable at the moment in the name of chasing a brighter future? Find the middle ground. Workroom into your budget for your FOMO-driven purchases, and then stick to that allowance. This way, you’re letting yourself enjoy the “now” without sacrificing the future.


We understand why you might feel the FOMO and we want to help you overcome it. Set a plan that lets you enjoy life and all of its treasures. Get in touch today.

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What you need to know

This information is provided by Invest Blue Pty Ltd (ABN 91 100 874 744). The information contained in this article is of general nature only and does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. Therefore, before making any decision, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice with regards to those matters and seek personal financial, tax and/or legal advice prior to acting on this information. Read our Financial Services Guide for information about our services, including the fees and other benefits that AMP companies and their representatives may receive in relations to products and services provided to you.