Fear Thesaurus Entry: Losing Financial Security

Debilitating fears are a problem for everyone, an unfortunate part of the human experience. Whether they’re a result of learned behavior as a child, are related to a mental health condition, or stem from a past wounding event, these fears influence a character’s behaviors, habits, beliefs, and personality traits. The compulsion to avoid what they fear will drive characters away from certain people, events, and situations and hold them back in life. 

In your story, this primary fear (or group of fears) will constantly challenge the goal the character is pursuing, tempting them to retreat, settle, and give up on what they want most. Because this fear must be addressed for them to achieve success, balance, and fulfillment, it plays a pivotal part in both character arc and the overall story.

This thesaurus explores the various fears that might be plaguing your character. Use it to understand and utilize fears to fully develop your characters and steer them through their story arc. Please note that this isn’t a self-diagnosis tool. Fears are common in the real world, and while we may at times share similar tendencies as characters, the entry below is for fiction writing purposes only.

Fear of Losing Financial Security

Food and housing security is one of humankind’s oldest needs. The fear of losing it (along with the corresponding conveniences and perks of modern life) can be rooted in many causes and will manifest in diverse ways.

What It Looks Like
Marrying for money
Being frugal
Picking a career based on salary over personal fulfillment
Frequently negotiating for a raise
Working more than one job to maintain a certain income
Job-hopping to take advantage of better paying opportunities
Pursuing higher education, certifications, and continuous learning opportunities
Being conservative and risk-averse when investing
Obsessively watching the stock market and the current financial climate for signs of a downturn
Being paranoid about scams
Living by a strict budget
Living simply (buying generic brands, choosing staycations over vacations, not engaging in expensive hobbies, etc.)
Building up and jealously guarding an emergency fund
Closely monitoring credit reports and credit card charges 
Making fear-based financial decisions rather than logical ones
Getting frustrated when family members overspend or don’t follow the character’s budget
Measuring financial security by an arbitrary goal (having a certain amount of money in the bank, being wealthier than a sibling or neighbor, etc.)
Personally going without so other family members can have a little extra

Common Internal Struggles
Always thinking about money 
Worrying about running out of money later in life and having to depend on others 
Wanting to enjoy life and the fruits of working but being consumed with worry
Constantly trying to anticipate and plan for scenarios that will create a financial bind, such as a medical emergency, car repairs, etc.
Second-guessing financial and career decisions
Anxiety spiking when a new expense is added (a child asking for money for a class trip, insurance premiums going up, etc.)
Wanting to give a child or spouse what they want but having to say no
Being tempted by a risky investment that, if it pays off, ensures financial security

Flaws That May Emerge
Compulsive, Controlling, Dishonest, Flaky, Greedy, Impulsive, Indecisive, Irrational, Nervous, Obsessive, Pessimistic, Possessive, Stingy, Unethical, Workaholic, Worrywart

Hindrances and Disruptions to the Character’s Life
The character losing sleep because they’re always worrying about money
Not being able to have the same experiences as others
The character lacking fulfillment in their career
Missing out on important family moments because the character is always working
Bypassing lucrative opportunities because the character is too afraid of the risk
Suffering the physical effects of too much worrying (headaches, weight loss, ulcers, etc.)
An inability to be content; always striving for more financial security
Having strained relations with a spouse or child because of the character’s stinginess or inflexibility

Scenarios That Might Awaken This Fear
The character or their spouse losing their job
The boss announcing cutbacks at work
Sustaining an injury or incurring a serious illness 
Losing everything to a scammer or in a bad investment
Watching the economy plummet toward a recession or depression
Having to take on caregiving duties for an additional family member
Having to file for bankruptcy
Being sued.


Source: writershelpingwriters.net

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