Weekend Reading: Understanding and Overcoming FOBO (Fear of Better Options)

This article appears as part of Casey Weade's Weekend Reading for Retirees series. Every Friday, Casey highlights four hand-picked articles on trending retirement topics and delivers them straight to your email inbox. Get on the list here.
Weekend reading overcoming fobo Weekend reading overcoming fobo
Weekend Reading

Have you ever avoided making a decision due to worry that a better option might exist? This is called FOBO, a psychological phenomenon that causes analysis paralysis and makes decision-making stressful.


How it develops: At its core, FOBO stems from your natural fear of letting go. You must let go of other options to make choices and overthinking makes it harder to decide. In the decision-making process, there are often two types of people: Maximizers and Satisficers. Maximizers seek the maximum benefit in the long term, often leading to overthinking and dissatisfaction, while satisficers choose based on immediate benefits. Research suggests that maximizers may experience less commitment to their choices and, consequently, less satisfaction.

How to overcome it: Drawing from personal experience, choosing the closest option that feels right and committing to it is key. Being consistent with your choices helps lead to success, and often, the best option for you will naturally unfold over time.

Are you letting the thief of joy (comparison) or the overwhelm of having too many choices lead you down a spiraling path of FOBO? Commitment and consistency are your biggest levers to regaining control over your decisions. Don’t let the outside “noise” distract you from what’s best for you now and in the future.