Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, because it’s the only occasion in which I indulge fear.
For the rest of the year, I diligently avoid horror movies and ghouls to the best of my ability because I hate being scared. But come October 31, I feel obligated to lose a few nights of sleep to nightmares.
Ghosts and goblins aside, what really keeps me up at night are financial fears. Here are my top five financial nightmares. (As “nightmares,” they may not all be 100% likely to happen—but that’s what makes them so scary!)
1. Identity Theft
One day, I will wake up to empty bank accounts because an identity thief will have hacked all my passwords and PINs to drain me financially dry. I will be rendered completely helpless without access to anything more than the change in my wallet.
It will take weeks, or even months, to sort out the entire mess, during which time I will be evicted from my apartment, forced to drop out of school, and have to rely entirely on charity from my family to survive.
2. Stock Market Crash
The stock market will crash so low that it never recovers—and my long-term plan for financial prosperity will fall with it. Decades of calculated investing will all be for naught, as my portfolio hemorrhages to death under the red tickers of the New York Stock Exchange.
This will happen over the course of a day or week when I am wholly preoccupied with school or vacation, and therefore, I will be completely unaware that I am quietly going broke. I will find out only when it is much too late to salvage anything from the wreckage.
Inflation will ramp up to a pace that can only be described as ridiculous, and any of my efforts to dutifully sock away cash for the future will be entirely eroded by the declining purchasing power of the dollar. I will have a lot of money; it will purchase absolutely nothing.
In addition, the rapid rate of inflation will be double for any items I truly enjoy, like coffee, leaving my money worth even less to me than previously feared.
4. Even More Student Loans
The Government of Canada will inform me that they calculated my student loans wrong. They will tell me I actually didn’t pay off my balance in full and owe three times my initial amount—plus interest and fees for late payments.
A collections agency will inform me of my massive debt at a very bad time, like my birthday or the first day of a new job. I will spend the rest of the occasion sobbing hysterically in the bathroom.
There will be a zombie apocalypse, and my lifetime obsession with money will be irrelevant in the wake of a real-life World War Z scenario. The true measures of wealth will instead become how many flats of water and canned food you have stored in your home. (Good thing I’m kind of prepared for that.)
What are your biggest financial nightmares? Share them in the comments.
(Photo: Wayan Vota)