There’s a world full of wacky phobias — from spiders and snakes to cheese and clocks — but this particular phobia can really damage your life.
There’s a world full of wacky phobias — from spiders and snakes to cheese and clocks — but this particular phobia can really damage your life.

This phobia can crush your future

Fears and phobias do funny things to us.

I once had a large brown snake slither next to me inside a speedboat but still calmly (relatively-speaking) drove it back to the riverbank. However, a few weeks later a harmless huntsman spider visited me inside the same boat and I freaked out, shaking.

I'm also a pansy with heights, but there's one phobia I've fortunately avoided: chromatophobia - the fear of money.

This irrational fear sees people fearing any contact with cash. Some can't stand the thought of germs on money that was handled by other people, while anxiety over money's association with greed, corruption and evil can dial up other people's fear-o-meters to 11.

Most people won't start shaking at the sight or thought of money, but there's probably a little chromatophobia in many of us.

That's because this phobia also relates to fear of losing money or worrying about the responsibility of handling money - feelings common among millions.

Many people can’t stand snakes. Others fear spiders. An unlucky few are terrified by money.
Many people can’t stand snakes. Others fear spiders. An unlucky few are terrified by money.

Financial behaviour specialists say the fear of losing money is twice as powerful as the satisfaction of gaining it.

This can prevent people from taking the first steps in becoming an investor, and also cause existing investors to do crazy stuff - such as selling off an asset when its price is rock-bottom.

Splashing half a million bucks on an investment property - and its associated debt - is not everyone's cup of tea. Many successful investors fear this too but overcome it with knowledge and experience.

Taking on financial responsibilities - from paying bills to buying stuff - also scares many.

However, there are ways to combat all levels of chromatophobia. Here are some.

• Expose yourself: Put yourself into situations where money is used for good. This could include charities, helping out others or making children happy. Positive financial habits begin with a positive view of money.

• Know your path: Many people bounce from bill to bill, or crisis to crisis, without understanding their own financial situation or where they want to be. Writing down what you really want - with time frames - is a great step towards financial freedom.

• One change at a time: Aim to do one positive money thing every week. It may be putting some cash into a jar or savings account, questioning the value of a small expense, or checking whether a bill provider is ripping you off.

• Knowledge is power: We've never had so much access to money tools, calculators and advice. Head online and you can work out what your home loan will cost you, how much your super will grow or how investments work. You don't have to be an expert - any extra knowledge is good.

• Start small: If investing scares you, take tiny steps. Divert some money into a savings account, then later a listed investment company or exchange traded fund as you build confidence. Don't choose higher-risk investments for any money you may need in five to seven years, and have financial safety nets.

• Get help: Financial planners are not all evil as the royal commission may have painted, and can deliver great strategic guidance. And there are free financial counsellors available on 1800 007 007 for people struggling with debt issues.

@keanemoney