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For a long time, I couldn’t even think about the stock market without being encompassed with fear and anxiety.
Now, as I read stories every day about bear markets, tanking shares, and impending recession, I just shrug my shoulders and transfer more money into my investment accounts.
It doesn’t bother me that the S&P 500 is down almost 20% from its recent record highs. I’m not anxious that the price of Bitcoin is down more than 30% in 2022. And I’m not scared by predictions of negative GDP growth or chatter about stagflation.
In fact, I’m investing more. This year, I’ve invested $15,000 above my usual monthly contributions.
What led to such a drastic change? Instead of experiencing market downturns as triggering and anxiety-inducing, I am able to see them as opportunities. I invested five figures on top of my monthly contributions in 2020 and plan to do the same thing again in 2022 while the market is down. On top of all that, money stress is a rarity in my home.
Here’s how I discovered unshakeable financial confidence, and how you can use stressful moments like this to find yours.
My Money Story
In 2008, I was a freshman in high school. The stock market crashed, my dad was laid off from a tech consulting company, and the housing bubble burst. I had no idea that those few months would affect the next few years of my life so tremendously.
In the years that followed, my dad remained unemployed, we lost my childhood home, and we ended up moving away from the nice area I grew up in. My parents, who brought our family from Puerto Rico to the States to chase an American dream, were forced to confront the opposite. Living through this change of fortune, I lost confidence in my financial future. I felt fear. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was this fear that led to a decade of struggling with financial anxiety.
Imagine this happening in the smallest and greatest moments for me, like:
- Taking 30 minutes to decide what to get on the restaurant menu to save money.
- Returning 90% of what I bought because of the shame I felt about spending on myself.
- Crying on the way to my wedding because of a financial inconvenience.