Surveys have reported that two-thirds of Americans admit to being subject to financial fears, and as many as one-third say that they worry about money “all the time.” It is important to acknowledge that many people suffer from “chrometophobia,” the fear generated from certain credit and finance-related scenarios. This is an actual phobia defined by the American Medical Association.

This state of mind is not limited to people who are living from paycheck to paycheck but includes those who are relatively financially successful. Often, people in the career development and peak accumulation stages of life (age 35 – 62) may be earning substantial compensation, but are not saving for the future. They may undertake a career change without adequate consideration of the consequences, and only afterward come to the realization of their error. Then, a pattern of guilty feelings may ensue, interfering with taking the steps that would be needed to recover. Further, the embarrassment of having “fallen,” prevents the person from communicating with others, even with loved ones, causing emotional distress.

This illustrates that making and having money can sometimes just placate and cover our financial fears without making them go away. In fact, many of these individuals have more to lose and will react with emotion rather than clear judgment to financial challenges that arise. Money fears are so pervasive because they have a dual nature. First, there is the obvious reality that our monetary situation impacts so many aspects of our lives and second, creates unproductive thought-patterns that keep us from attaining financial success and overall happiness.

There are two important things you can do to overcome chrometophobia:

First, find someone with whom you can be open and honest about money matters, including the details of your income, expenses, and debts. Talking about your personal finances can leave some feeling naked among strangers. They just don’t talk about how much money they make and even less often how much money they owe. Others are so deeply ashamed of their spending habits and past mistakes that they go to any lengths to keep up appearances and avoid facing reality. Hiding the truth from yourself and your loved ones can have devastating consequences.

Second, set clear goals toward financial success and take concrete step-by-step action to accomplish them. Make the effort to understand your finances and learn the terminology. More people will take the time to plan their vacation than will sit down and map out where they are now financially, where they want to go and determine the steps needed to get there. Inaction will not solve the problem.

In addition to partnering with a loved one in this process, you can take advantage of the services of a financial planning professional. This is a person who has been trained with both thorough and up-to-date industry knowledge and effective communication skills to guide you through the necessary steps towards a healthy relationship to your financial challenges. Take action today. You don’t need to be alone in accomplishing the task.