underearning as an addiction

Compulsive Underearning as an Addiction: When One Does not Have Enought Money to Take Care of Basic Needs

A compulsive underearner does not earn enough money or have sufficient income to support themselves. When a persons income does not cover basic needs, sooner or later one is to incur unsecured debt, like credit cards or personal loans.

How does Underearning Affect Us?

Being a compulsive underearner and consistantly not having anough money creates a belief cycle, of not feeling good enough to deserve more money than one is currently receiving, or feelings of despair from not being able to meet financial goals or deadlines.

Like alcoholism, compulsive gambling, or overeating, underearning can err on the side of an addiction. One becomes so familiar, yet not necessarily comfortable, with not generating enough income to cover basic needs, that underearning becomes a part of who one thinks they are. Years, even just months, of living constricted lives due to financial restrictions can cause one to lose vitality and their sense of self worth.

Underearning can, and does, destroy relationships. Asking friends and family for money cover them until the next paycheck creates unhealthy relationships of dependency, with the end result being hurt and resentment.

Signs of Compulsive Underearning

  • Resenting being in a position where one dislikes their job or is not being paid what they are worth, yet not asking for a pay raise or changing jobs
  • Having more basic weekly/fortnightly/monthly expenses like bills, groceries, fuel, education and secured debt repayments (mortgage, car) than the income one is actually bringing home (not including credit card and personal loan repayments)
  • Using credit cards to “tide them over” until the next paycheck
  • Asking friends and family for money to bail them out of financial hardship on a regular basis
  • Believing one’s salary is not important to their wellbeing, but constantly worrying about money
  • Working overtime for hours to do a job more perfectly than one is getting paid to do
  • Overcommiting time and energy to volunteer activities
  • Feeling discouraged or resentful towards others who earn more than they do
  • Being so afraid of failure as to not attempt a new career, or even undertake training

Recovering from Compulsive Underearning and Having More Money

Recovery from underearning as an addiction is both possible and closer to fruition than one may currently believe. Like other addictions, the road is seldom smooth and certainly not without personal trials, and maybe even circumstances need to worsen before they can improve.

Recovering from underearning does not necessarily mean one becomes wealthy overnight, but that one’s income increased, needs are met, along with having the means to nourishing oneself with new clothing, holidays or vacations, taking up hobbies and becoming more effective.

Acknowledging oneself as a compulsive underearner is the first step to recovery. There are self-help programs and 12-step fellowships specifically for underearners worldwide.