As an estate planning lawyer in Florida working with young parents and professionals, I’ve noticed a significant yet often overlooked issue: money dysmorphia. This condition can profoundly affect one’s financial decisions and mindset, particularly when it comes to estate planning.
Last week, I appeared on Good Morning America to discuss this topic, how it affected my life coming out of law school and grad school, and how I was able to overcome it.
In this article, I will go more in depth to explore the concept of money dysmorphia, how it affects young parents and professionals, and why focusing on what you have, rather than what others possess, is crucial to starting your financial and estate planning.
What is Money Dysmorphia?
Money dysmorphia is a term used to describe a distorted perception of one’s financial health. Similar to body dysmorphia, where an individual has a skewed perception of their physical appearance, money dysmorphia involves misjudging one’s financial status. This could mean underestimating your wealth, overestimating your debts, or feeling perpetually inadequate regardless of your actual financial standing.
Impact on Young Parents and Professionals
Young parents and professionals are particularly susceptible to money dysmorphia. Amidst the pressures of repaying student debt, starting families, advancing in careers, and social media showcasing the extravagant lifestyles of peers, it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling financially inadequate. This mindset often leads to two misconceptions:
“I don’t have enough to need estate planning”: Many believe that estate planning is only for the wealthy. However, it’s crucial for anyone who wants to protect their assets, no matter how modest, and ensure their loved ones are cared for in the future.
“Estate planning is too expensive for me”: There’s a common misconception that estate planning is a luxury only affordable for the rich. In reality, the cost of not having an estate plan can be much higher, considering the legal complexities and potential disputes that can arise without one.
Focusing on What You Have
Constant comparison with others’ financial status is a surefire path to discontent and distorted financial perception. Here’s why focusing on what you have, instead, is vital:
Realistic Financial Assessment: Understanding your true financial situation is the first step in effective estate planning. This involves acknowledging your assets, debts, and future needs without comparing them to others.
Tailored Estate Planning: Estate plans are not one-size-fits-all. By focusing on your unique situation, you can create a plan that suits your specific needs and goals, ensuring a secure future for your family.
Mental Peace: By accepting and appreciating your financial standing, you cultivate a healthier relationship with money, reducing stress and anxiety about your financial future.
Money dysmorphia can distort your perception of your financial health, leading to misguided decisions about estate planning. As young parents and professionals, it’s essential to understand that estate planning is a crucial step in adulting, regardless of your wealth level. By focusing on your own financial reality and not on others’, you can make informed decisions that secure your family’s future and bring you peace of mind.
Remember, estate planning is not about how much you have; it’s about protecting what matters to you.
If you’re ready to start this important journey, I’m here to guide you every step of the way – and it starts with a no-cost initial consultation.