Have you heard about the imposter syndrome?

I notice when phrases and terminology trend or get popular. Can you say overused? These terms jump out at me because I’m interested in words and phrases. I’ve run across “imposter syndrome” several times the past few days. What is the imposter syndrome?

Imposter syndrome, also called perceived fraudulence, involves feelings of self-doubt and personal incompetence that persist despite your education, experience, and accomplishments.

young blond boy at the beach
My son at the beach prior to 9/11 and 2008.

Here’s an article about the Imposter Syndrome millennials and how they are insecure about their finances in the Wall Street Journal By Julia Carpenter:

“I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to managing my money.” 

“I just know I’m going to screw this all up eventually anyway.”

“I don’t deserve to be earning/saving/spending as much as I am.”  

These are some of the thoughts that run through my head whenever I open my banking app or check my credit score—me, a personal-finance reporter at The Wall Street Journal. My confidence in my job and my confidence in my own finances are two different things. And I’m not alone in feeling insecure about managing my own money.

As we discuss career trajectories and feelings of social belonging, many in my millennial generation are familiar with “impostor syndrome,” the phenomenon of doubting your own hard-won success and feeling like a fraud in certain spaces. This kind of self-destructive thought pattern can also infiltrate our feelings about our finances—and all too often does for millennials.

One source of many millennials’ insecurity is the scars of the 2008 recession, says Maggie Germano, a financial coach based in Washington, D.C. At that point, millennials were either early in their careers or still in school, so they had little or nothing in the way of reassuring experiences to fall back on. More than a decade—and another recession—later, many are still hesitant to claim their newfound success.  

“They always feel things will fall apart financially,” Ms. Germano says. “I have clients who make really good money but then still worry about losing everything.” 

This fear means you can have a harder time making tough money calls or trusting your own decision making. I feel this in my own life: I often agonize over seemingly simple financial moves and constantly second-guess my own instincts. 

On top of that, the widening gap between those who could sustain their financial stability in the pandemic and those who couldn’t can lead to greater feelings of financial impostor syndrome, Ms. Germano says. Financial survivor’s guilt is a common phenomenon in the coronavirus pandemic and can lead those who have done well to question whether they deserve to be so fortunate.

I’ve talked to my kids and they say 9/11 and the 2008 market crash really marked them for life. I’m not sure if they are suffer from the imposter syndrome but those two events make them very unsure of their financial futures.

Add this crazy 2020 global pandemic and I am frightened for them and their distrust of everything we took for granted as the American Dream. They reject the system that we took for granted growing up.

I believe the insecurity of not only the the major crisis my kids have lived through has shaped their lives and their politics. They don’t believe in the same things i do. They don’t believe in either party.

I wonder If their lives hadn’t been touched by such extreme events would they have different outlooks today?

My husband rejects the notion that our kids have had it rough because of 9/11, 2008 market crash and COVID-19. He pointed out wars like the Civil War, World War I and II, and Vietnam. The 1932 stock market crash. There are all sorts of tough times in our nation’s history. Maybe this feels different because I’ve lived through it. And my kids have too.

baby girl at the beach
My daughter at Laguna Beach before life was traumatic.

Do you experience the Imposter Syndrome? In what situations?

Do you know people who suffer from the Imposter syndrome? Who are they?

Do you think our kids lives have been altered by 9/11 and COVID 19?

What other phrases or terms have you heard lately?