What are you missing out on?
Probably not as much as you think.
But in our hyper-connected world with its 24/7 news cycle, the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) has made many people focus more on what they’re not doing than on what they are doing. That can lead to some bad decisions and missed opportunities to improve your quality of life.
Here are three ways that FOMO can distort your perspective on what’s really important.
Losing perspective on your portfolio.
The vast majority of investors who build wealth through the markets do so by making consistent contributions to a balanced, diversified financial plan. That might not sound as exciting as jumping on the latest social media investment craze. But over time, this experienced strategy is a lot more feasible than trying to take shortcuts.
For example, the “meme stock” craze boosted shares of GameStop and AMC in 2021. But those companies came crashing back down to earth in 2022. And while all securities experience ups and downs, many folks suffering from FOMO “bought high” right before the meme stock bubble burst or overinvested in these trendy stocks instead of diversifying into traditional brokerage or retirement accounts.
Will some of these FOMO investments rebound and turn profits over time? Maybe. But if you treat investing like a slot machine, you may “miss out” on the ability to build a strong foundation for long-term financial growth.
Losing perspective on your time.
According to Statista, in 2022 the average person spent 147 minutes per day on social media. Some of that time educates us about what’s happening in the world, connects us with friends and family, and brings an extra smile to our coffee breaks.
But a big chunk of those 147 minutes is spent seeing other people do things that we’re not doing. Not surprisingly, more and more scientific studies are finding a link between high social media use and FOMO. And when we’re looking at exquisite snapshots of meals we can’t afford or tropical vacations we can’t find time for, that can lead to feelings of low self-worth and even depression.
Rather than worry about what everyone else is doing, it might be worth reexamining your own daily schedule to make sure you’re spending time on the things that are most important to you. If you’ve always hated running, training for a half-marathon just because your friends are will only make you — and them — miserable. Instead, consider unplugging at the beginning or end of every day to do something you love, whether that’s half an hour of yoga or reading an extra bedtime story to your children. Using your time your way will be much more fulfilling than eating food you don’t really like, planning for a trip you don’t really feel like taking, or buying a boat you’ll never drive enough.
Losing perspective on Life’s milestones.
As we age, FOMO can take on some complicated new dimensions. Seeing colleagues promoted ahead of you might make you worry that you’ve peaked in your career. Market fluctuations and global economic challenges might make you worry about the security of your retirement. Packing your kids off to college might make you worry about missing out on their lives.
Acknowledging, planning for, and celebrating all the important moments in your life is an essential part of our Planning Process. Looking back on the milestones you’ve crossed should fill you with pride and gratitude. Hopefully, those feelings can help you stay focused on the personal goals that you’ve plotted in the future and the financial plan we’re working on together that will help you to pursue them.
This article was prepared for Aaron Larson’s use.