How Do You React to Unexpected Money Drain?

Money Tree DrainWe have all gone through periods when we have unexpectedly lost money. When the unexpected money drain happens, we can have a wide range of emotions. From hurt, to anger, to hysteria, to despondent to blaise. A lot of the way you react has to to do with your history as well as some of your chemistry.


There was a study published in the Journal of Molecular Psychiatry in 2012 that spoke about this very thing. Some of us may be predisposed to react much differently than others, based on our brain chemistry.

Basically, if you have a lower level of the norepinephrine transporters, which means that you have a buildup of norepinephrine in certain parts of your brain, then you are much more likely to have a lower aversion to losing money.

But if you have a higher level of norepinephrine transporters, it means that your brain does not carry a buildup of norepinephrine and you are much more likely to have a completely different reaction to the financial loss. If you fall into this category, then you may have a much stronger reaction to the loss and make attempts to regain it rapidly, which can ultimately lead to more loss due to hasty decisions.


Our history is something else that we have no control over here. However, it can have a whole lot to do with how you react. If you have ever heard the term “knee jerk reaction,” then you will understand what I am talking about.

Take for example, if you have found yourself in a spot previously where your secure income stream was suddenly taken away and you had to scramble to figure out how to pay your bills and feed your family. If you have been there before and are in that predicament again, then you will likely react to it the exact same way that you did previously.

Which may or may not be a good thing. More than likely, if you are finding yourself in this position again, then it speaks to how you reacted and recovered from the previous situation and it doesn’t bode well. The reason is because if you are in a similar situation again, then it means that you didn’t change your habits or your actions and have repeated the pattern.


You may not be able to control your brain chemistry or your past history, but you can get a better grip on how you choose to react to the situation of financial drain, should it occur. Here are some of the most common reactions:

  • Hurt – How could this happen to me? I am such a hard worker and a great person. I don’t deserve this.
  • Anger – Don’t you know who I AM?! You can’t do this to me!
  • Hysteria – This is completely insane! I simply can’t handle this. It is too much.
  • Despondent – I don’t know what to do. I can’t even think because I am in such shock.
  • Blaise – Whatever. Who cares. It’s just money.

Each of these typical responses leads to different actions as well, some healthier for your financial security than others. The usual corresponding actions with each reaction are:

  • Hurt – Depression, withdrawal, very little to no positive action, spending more money to self soothe
  • Anger – Quick, rash decisions to regain what was lost
  • Hysteria – Usually a combination of “hurt” and “withdrawal” reactions
  • Despondent – Very little to no action due to lack of processing the information
  • Blaise – Will go on as if nothing ever happened

What Can You Do

First and foremost, you should feel what you feel. I mean really feel it! Because it can help fuel the fire to recover your financial security. Give yourself a day to go through all of the emotions, but then you need to get back on the horse and come up with a plan.

Assessing the situation is an integral part of potential recovery. You should take an in depth look at what was lost, or will be due to no secure financial income stream. Once you have a grip on the exact financial loss, then sit down and take a look at your regular bills and make a budget. There are some great apps to create this budget, such as Mint, Personal Capital, and Dave Ramsey EveryDollar.

Once you have your proposed budget, then I suggest figuring out ways to side hustle. This means pick up as many side jobs as you can. Side hustles can end up being pretty lucrative and a lot of them you can do in your own time, so you can create your own schedule.

If you have debt, work on paying that off first and then work on your savings. However, it is always good to have about a 6 month cushion in your savings account, albeit sometimes that is just not logistical depending on your financial situation.

Cut back on your spending, EVERYWHERE! Some people react the complete opposite to financial loss and feel like they are never going to recover so they just start spending money like it’s water. The mentality here is that it doesn’t matter because they are so much in the hole that they will never dig themselves out. Well NOT WITH THAT ATTITUDE YOU WON’T!

Do the opposite. Put your head down, bust out the work and keep your wallet at home as often as possible. Switch to cash instead of cards because it is much more “real” when you use cash as opposed to a card.

Eventually, you will come out of it and possibly even fully recover. But if you don’t, then a change in perspective is really all that is needed. Your reality has changed and your attitude and perspective has to change with it to be successful.

What are some of the ways you have handled sudden financial drain that helped you to recover?

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About the Author Shanah Bell

I am a business owner and single mother to two wonderful children. I was on food stamps for years and struggling financially to make ends meet. I was one of the early children diagnosed with Celiac Disease in the US and am a vegetarian. I have a Master's Degree in Nutrition and am a Holistic Health Advisor. My company is Adaptive Nourishment which helps to build healthier lives through dietary adaptation.

Leave a Comment:

Duncan says September 21

Great article! Made me critically think about how I respond to financial loss and how I react to it. thank you!

    Shanah Bell
    Shanah Bell says September 22

    You are most welcome! Do you think that the article will help you process your response and alter your reaction the next time it happens, if it should happen again?

James says September 24

I take a break because it’s hard to decide or take action when you are emotionally affected. A break can give me a wider perspective and fuels me up afterward.

Francesca - From Pennies to Pounds says September 25

I think that I have a combination of all of these reactions, lol. I haven’t had a financial drain as such but I am in debt which has been quite stressful but I am quite an upbeat person so I am working hard to pay it off and am staying optimistic!

Adam says September 26

I’m a very passive person in every day situations but when it comes to money especially drains I like to address it head on and form “attack plans.”

Usually I start off being frustrated by the situation then I start analyzing it and then I start looking for a strategic approach to situate the issue.

After that I begin to add backup plans in place to help try and prevent the issue from happening again but if it can’t be helped I like to find ways to know that when it does arise again I’ll be ready for it.

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