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Peniaphobia –Fear Of being Poor

The fear of  poverty has an official name. It’s called Peniaphobia which is defined as “a fear of having no money or being poor”. This is not to be confused with Aporophobia which is a fear of and hostility to people who are poor, without resources and helpless.

For some Peniaphobia is an irrational fear of losing wealth or what they have and falling into poverty. Alternatively, for others it could be a fear of falling deeper into poverty. In both cases the fear is real – no matter how unlikely either of these eventualities actually are this intense anxiety can be totally life-changing.

Someone suffering from Peniaphobia may be in complete control of their finances, recognise their personal situation and work within their means at all times, they may be fully aware of the economic conditions, budget well, have a nest egg and know, deep down that they have the capabilities to handle whatever life throws at you. In spite of all this a totally irrational and crippling fear of poverty in the future affects all aspects of their life and their ability to make the most of life in the here and now.

Fear Of Poverty – Causes

The fear of poverty can affect anyone at any time. That said, it’s particularly common in people who have just come into some money, who have landed a game-changing business deal or those who are starting to change their financial situation and to succeed in life. In a way it’s a fear of going back to the way it was for them before. They’re beginning to enjoy a life of abundance and don’t want it to ever end.

When you put it that way it sounds pretty normal doesn’t it? In most cases it probably is! No one wants to lose what they have and it’s completely natural to protect what they’ve got and want to carefully manage and plan for the future.

As we’ve explained above, for anyone suffering from a fear of poverty it’s different though – it consumes thoughts and prevents any enjoyment of life.

Peniaphobia is no different to any other specific fear is as much as there is no one specific cause and each case is different. It is likely to have developed over time and stemmed from either;

  1. Some form of traumatic event relating to poverty that’s left a lasting impression on the sub-conscious or from the influence of a peer of life-guide from whom you may have unwittingly have inherited this fear. This could be a childhood in extreme poverty, as a child witnessing the bailiffs ceasing property or house repossession and the affects it caused.
  2. Simply growing up with or being influenced by a Peniaphobe and therefore inheriting the tendencies.

Peniaphobia – Symptoms

As with any phobia the symptoms of a fear of poverty can be intense. Extreme anxiety, panic and dread are the norm. They’re consistent too – occupying thoughts all the time and not just in waves.

Panic attacks, shortness of breath, perspiration, flushes, irregular pulse, nausea, insomnia etc etc. Whilst totally irrational, none of these symptoms are uncommon.

The sufferer effectively plays out a starring role in a nightmare about how terrible life would be if everything was lost. And the nightmare is with them constantly and never ends.

The result … a paranoid protection of what they have rather than making the most of life by taking advantage of the financial situation. There’s no purpose or meaning to life except to protect everything they have. It’s therefore life-changing.

Peniaphobia – Facts And Data

A fear of poverty is not one of the more common phobias. There are an unlimited number of specific fears and phobias and so, because this is not one you hear about that frequently, there is very little specific data as to the numbers of sufferers and the effects of this condition. A lack of Peniaphobia facts and data doesn’t mean the condition isn’t real though … it is!

It should not be confused with Aporophobia which, as defined by Wikipedia, is fear, disgust and hostility towards poor people and those in poverty.

When To Seek Help For A Fear Of Poverty

Be sensible, budget, save, tuck some money away and plan for the future for sure. This is completely normal and natural. But enjoy everything you have. Live well, help others, experience amazing things, visit incredible places, meet new people, experience different cultures and grow as a person as a result of all this. Plan ahead? Yes … but make the most of what you’ve got now. Enjoy life and the abundance you have.

If you find this difficult to do because of a fear of poverty then that’s when you should seek help. Ask yourself if you can bring yourself to live like I’ve outlined above. Be honest and if the answer’s no then you need to take action and seek help. Life will suddenly get SO much better!

Treatment For The Fear Of Poverty – Therapy


You may want to consider hypnotherapy as a treatment for Peniaphobia. It works by reprogramming the subconscious mind to react in a different, more rational and sensible way, to your thoughts about money, wealth and poverty. It basically re-sets it back to the way it was when you came into this world and before it became unduly affected by some event or influencer in your past life. Don’t write it off – it can prove highly effective.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT):

Face to face talking therapy, in particularly Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT as it’s better known, is the number one treatment for any form of phobia. And the fear of poverty is no different. It waorks by talking about your fears, your thoughts relating to the fear, your beliefs amd attitudes and how they currently influence your behaviour towards money. It then looks to change the way you look at poverty in order to result in different feelings, and actions to the thought of money and poverty.

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