How to Conquer the Fear of the Unknown

Fear is a powerful emotion. It can either motivate us to move forward or hinder us from making sound decisions.

I’ve heard the term fear explained as:


If I were to take a magnifying glass over the span of my life, I could pinpoint areas where the fear of the unknown kept me from advancing in certain areas, specifically regarding investing.

Two years ago, I met with Michael Gatrell, in our Investment Services Department, to learn about different options available to for investing my money.

I have a 401k from a previous employer that I was considering rolling over into an IRA. I receive the monthly paper statements in the mail and go back and forth on whether or not to keep it with my previous employer. Michael assured me that I could leave it there and have a representative from Vantage actively watch it. We also discussed creating a 5-10 year financial plan and setting goals to work towards.

The meeting left me excited, informed and ready to get this done right away. Do you know what happened next? Nothing. It became another “good” conversation with no action to back it up.

I realized that not only was I was procrastinating in the area of investing but in other areas as well. Why would I put off something that could benefit my family? In looking back, I believe it is the fear of the unknown, or better yet, the fear of what I don’t fully understand that is the culprit.

So here are three ways that I’m learning how to conquer the fear of the unknown:

1. Set realistic goals (and work towards them).

For me, one realistic goal was to start saving towards retirement by increasing the percentage taken out for my current 401k Plan. Maxing it out is what I want to do, but I’m not sure I’m ready to have that much come out of each check just yet. Other realistic goals include consolidating credit card debt, refinancing, or opening an emergency savings account.

2. Accountability

My wife and I are accountable to one another, but we also have others in our lives who help us stay on track with certain goals. We’ve recently discussed participating in Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University”: with a few other couples to learn from one another by sharing insights gained from the lessons in the program. The representatives in Vantage’s Investment Services Group are great at making sure each client’s questions are answered and they are never pushy. They offer help where needed but don’t overstep or make you feel uncomfortable. I like that!

3. Being ok with not knowing everything.

Deep down, I think I want to be a know-it-all, but where’s the fun in that? Life is a journey, and we’re constantly going to learn and grow. And as my Dad always says, “Don’t be afraid to ask questions.” I would recommend seeking to learn more from trusted advisors like those at Vantage. To schedule an appointment, click here.

I’m looking forward to implementing these steps into my journey of overcoming the fear of the unknown.

What are some ways you overcome the fear of the unknown?