Greed or Fear Driving Money Decisions?

Is it greed or fear that drives most money decisions? Most automatically think it's greed. But is that true?

What's the last big financial decision you had to make? Was fear or greed driving it? My guess would be fear. As a Certified Money Coach I talk to people every week who are making financial decisions out of fear - fear they will lose their home, fear they will lose the respect of others (or themselves) if they "short sale," fear about being able to pay the bills, the taxes they're behind on, fear, fear, fear. Of course, fear generates more of the same and stress.

We like to think of ourselves as individuals making our own decisions, but we humans are social animals and run with what the "herd" is thinking, often unconsciously. Remember when everything was going along just fine (or so we thought) before the economic fall of 2008. Then the market crashed, and the herd got spooked and ran off the financial cliff? Millions took their money out of the stock market, which of course contributed to more panic. Banks were going under. I said to my husband, "We (collectively) are going to make a bigger mess than necessary out of downfall with our fear."

What do we do to counter the tendency  to react  with fear? When the reactive (fear or stress) brain gets overloaded the pre-frontal cortex (decision making part of brain) gets "kicked off line." (Klontz - Mind Over Money). A stressed brain doesn't make good decisions so the first thing to do is check your stress/anxiety level. If on a scale of 0-10 it's an 8-10, forget the decision making for today. And, if you think that extra beer, or dessert, or hour on the internet of distraction will make you feel better, be careful - the stressed, overloaded brain is also much more vulnerable to addictive tendencies.  Instead, take 10 -20 deep breaths (yes, I know it doesn't make the situation go away). But as your body relaxes, so does your brain and a relaxed brain makes much better decisions. Take time before making that big important money decision, get help from experts and make your best decision.