One of the number one questions that people ask me as a financial wellness writer is, how do we include wellness in money? I feel you! What does it even mean to be “well” with your money?
Financial wellness is learning how your personality, environment, and experiences affect your money habits, leading to financial stability. Fortunately, there are steps to cultivate your finances as a holistic part of your life. Here are the eight ways to improve financial wellness.
1. Make a list of your financial stressors.
Pay inequity is real, and it sucks. Notably, Black and Latinx women are making 38 and 45 less than white men.
When we hear about these injustices and inequalities, it’s gut-wrenching. It makes you question your worth. It affects your ability to be well, particularly when it comes to your money. But you matter, and your net worth — and your salary — doesn’t define your self-worth. And the first step toward financial wellness is to recognize that your feelings around pay, or any other financial inequities that feel outside of your control, are valid. Take your anger and fuel it into action.
Take a moment to process these feelings and stressors. Set a 10-minute timer, take out a piece of paper, and list all financial issues that are causing you stress. This can help create an emotional release, which will put you in a better place for making financial decisions.
2. Remind yourself of your worth daily.
Tell yourself that you value your life and money. Do what you need to feel empowered. Write down your money mantras. Make a gratitude list. Listen to Independent Women by Destiny’s Child (a great throwback). Break out that “Pay Me” mug. As corny as it sounds, it’s necessary to become your own motivational speaker. You don’t have to shout it out to the mountain tops, but getting into the habit of acknowledging your worth is just as crucial as others seeing your worth in you.
3. Listen to the stories you tell yourself about money.
Money doesn’t grow on trees. I suck at money. Money is evil. What are the limiting words and phrases you use when you talk about money? Many of the beliefs or thoughts we have around money come from daily conversations that we have with our friends, family, and co-workers. And some of our ideas about money are instilled in us at a young age. Wherever your money beliefs come from, pay attention to the ways in which they might be limiting. If you’re constantly telling yourself you’re bad at money, it can become an easy excuse when you want to overspend on that new bag or ignore your budget.
4. Know your numbers.
Most folks are unaware of how much it would cost to live a happy life. We simply try to save as much as we can and spend as little as possible. Without really knowing the number you need to live the life you want, you’re in a constant state of scarcity and deprivation. You’re just trying to stay afloat, you’re not actually working toward a goal or a lifestyle that’s meaningful to you. And if we don’t know how much money we need and want to thrive, it’s hard to muster the confidence to ask for what we want. The first step starts with knowing your numbers. And here are some significant numbers to learn:
When we understand our goals, how much we owe, and how much we spend, we can make more conscious decisions about how much income we need, how much of a raise we should ask for, or how much we need to cut back in certain areas. Our finances become much more intentional and we begin to feel like we’re working on something important for us, not just trying to cut back for the sake of cutting back.
5. Find your financial BFFs
Have you heard the saying, “your tribe attracts your vibe”? This statement couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to your money, and you must embark on a search to find your Financial BFFs. A Financial BFF is an accountability group, friend, or financial support group that will help you with your money story without shame or guilt.
We all need Financial BFFs because we don’t know what we don’t know. Plus, we gain more confidence in all aspects of our lives when we have a friend who can hold us accountable on those days when we’re just not feeling it. . Looking for a Financial BFF requires work, and it’s essential to find someone who matches your lifestyle, environment, and personality. Some questions to ask yourself when you’re looking for an accountability partner:
- Do I have a friend that talks about saving money or is “good” with money?
- What inspires me when it comes to money? Do you identify with finding someone who is a “hustler,” a glamorous moneymaker, a woo-woo type, or someone who’s more practical?
- What’s your preferred friendship dynamic? Do you want to work with one person or join an accountability group?
It’s important for all of us to have goals around our money, no matter where we’re at in our financial journey. Having something to work toward is a big part of rounding out your financial wellness. And in making those goals, it’s essential to see how your habits, conversations, and relationships around money encompass your life.
Eugenie George, MBA, CFEI is a Financial Wellness Author of Our Money Stories: A Six Week No B.S. Holistic Financial Wellness Plan. In her spare time, you can catch her watching an abnormal amount of dance choreography videos.
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