In this post & this recent Fulfilled – The Podcast episode we are going to talk all about financial wellness – what is it – why do you care – and what goes into being financially well, anyway?
Financial Literacy – that’s the ability to understand and make use of a variety of financial skills – think personal finance management, budgeting, investing, having a debt plan, and comprehending principles like: time value of money, compound interest, managing debt and personal financial planning. Financial Literacy is the know how to do these things or the ability to go get this information and knowing what are reputable sources.
Financial Wellness, now that’s the total picture of your financial health. It’s how the money situation affects your stress levels, your overall mental and physical health. Notice that I didn’t say a net worth, a label of debt-free or financially independent.
Financial Wellness – it’s not a destination. It’s a journey. It’s constant recalibration and making adjustments along the way to help you to build financial resilience so that you can, even when life throws you curveballs, because we both know it will, maintain financial equilibrium. Financial wellness serves to stabilize your financial situation so that you can the options, the tools, and the ability to create a stable, so much as you can in this crazy world we live in, healthy and successful life, however it is that you choose to define that success.
Just like actual wellness – the treating of your mind, body, and soul with care – when we do things like nourish them, move them, and use our mind body and soul and even rest our mind, body and soul – financial wellness is doing those same self-care items for your money. Think of it like financial self-care. It’s treating your money, debts, investments and more – treating them well. It’s the idea that when you take good care of your personal finances, know how to achieve your money goals & practice healthy money habits like financial self-care… you feel better.
When you do these things, you know where you are money-wise, you know where you are going and you can improve your quality of life – that’s the journey to financial wellness right there.
This topic of financial wellness can feel big, hairy, scary and intimidating. I know, because I work with women all the time who are walking towards wellness and leaving financial illness and diseased thinking in the past… and analysis paralysis, not knowing where to start or even how you can take those first steps is extremely common.
This is an introduction to financial wellness and it’s the first of a series of posts (and Fulfilled – The Podcast episodes) where we will unpack the pillars – those building blocks you need to assess and fine tune in your financial life to create that wellness.
Ok – so I said a lot of jumbo jumbo waxing lyrical about financial wellness – here’s what it is, plain and simple:
Financial Wellness – as defined by Ellevest in their recent article A Guide to Practical Financial Wellness – it’s a state of (money-related) well-being that’s achieved and maintained when you know what you have, where you are headed and you feel good about it.
Ok, sure – If you are getting ready to press pause and check out because it feels like an insurmountable task best saved for another day to take stock of where you are money-wise, set goals and determine where you are headed with your life and personal finances and then get to the point where you feel really good about them – stick around! We are going to break it down. I’m going to share with you why this isn’t something that can wait for. “The right time” isn’t coming. Things won’t slow down. The time to take control of your money is now.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – financial wellness isn’t the destination. It’s the journey. You don’t have to make massive changes right now. What I’m asking is that you pay attention, make small adjustments, increase your awareness and start to be more intentional with your money.
Here’s how we can start to work towards financial wellness, It’s called
HERE – YOU – GO!
In the HERE step you evaluate your foundation and identify where you are.
- You take stock of how things are going from a budgeting, & spending perspective, all rolled up into the pillar of CASHFLOW.
- You evaluate the INCOME that you have coming into your life – how much are you making. Do you want to make shifts to turn that up (and how do we do that) or are you looking to dial that back and how will that affect the cashflow pillar and your current lifestyle.
- You pull back the curtain to really see what you have in SAVINGS – both in the OMG FUND, where we recommend saving 3-6 months of household expenses just in case life makes you say OMG.
- Then it’s time to look into your COVERAGE – to make sure that you have yourself covered from a home, auto, liability, umbrella, life and disability insurance standpoint. It’s important to make sure that, in the event of illness, death, disability that your family is cared for.
In the YOU step it’s time to do the hard work, the deep work as my mentor Cal Newport would say.
- You have to be proactive about acquiring the TOOLS, skills and abilities to manage your money and walk towards financial wellness. These are tools like self-care, mindset work, and creating systems and processes in your life that set you up to win with money.
In the GO step it’s time to make a plan for where you go from here.
- Let’s take the time to dig into your GOALS. Setting goals that are short-term, long-term and that big, bold vision for your life are key. Without a vision, people perish. You want to be one of those people walking around life with a clear, crisp vision for your future, a strategic plan on how to get there and specific stepping stones to achieve that strategic plan.
- Do you need a DEBT reduction plan? Do you know how much debt you have? Are you working to reduce it? Are you accidentally taking on more debt month after month because you aren’t succeeding in the CASHFLOW pillar?
- Last but certainly not least, it’s time to adjust the dials on your INVESTMENTS. Are you taking advantage of things like employer matches and tax sheltered investments? Are you investing at a rate that’s on par with your goals. Also – think of non-money investments like improving your skills and abilities, achieving at work and creating new opportunities for INCOME that will help with the income and cashflow categories!
Yes, that feels like a LOT. But, and here’s your friendly reminder to subscribe to Fulfilled – The Podcast because in coming episodes we are going to unpack each of these pillars, the questions and journal prompts to use as you walk through them, and you are not going to want to miss it. To make sure you are the first to know when new episodes of Fulfilled drop, subscribe, add to your queue and turn on the notifications!
If you are going to walk away from this episode with only one thought, one encouragement and one bite-sized piece, here it is.
Financial Wellness is available to everyone. Yes, that means you. Financial wellness is within your grasp. This is your invitation to take an inventory of where you are (HERE) to work to attain the mindset, tools, systems and abilities that you need (YOU) and to determine your destination and get about the business of getting there.
It does not matter where you are today, how much you are struggling, where your mindset blocks are, what mistakes you’ve made in the past, the things you wish you had or hadn’t done. What matters is that you realize that your future is yours – this one precious life – it’s yours to do with what you dream. Being intentional and aware of your money is the first part and I’m giving you a big HIGH FIVE for clicking play today. Go! Leave a review. Subscribe. Follow me on social media @mrstracybingaman. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to tell me that you are committing to go on this journey to financial wellness alongside me and this growing community of kick ass working moms who are ready to blaze a trail to financial wellness. Thank you, my friend, for making the space and taking the time to read this today!