13 Steps to Financial Wellness Summary
Here I am on May 30th getting ready to share a capsule of the Financial Literacy Month Series I posted on Instagram in April... but hey, better late than never! Extending grace to myself. It has been a busy month, but this is too important to not disseminate further.
Financial Wellness is probably one of the more intense categories in the nine dimensions framework.
Many of us were raised to believe that discussing money was taboo. To a degree, it is. Of course, you shouldn't walk up to a stranger and ask them their credit score or account balance, but this blockade trickled down into relationships that should actually be educational in nature (e.g. parent-child). No bueno!
I learned about personal finances and money management by trial and error. No one taught me about budgeting, saving, investing or debt. I was in my mid-20s by the time I figured out all of the pieces. Parenthood propelled me into a space where I had to mature and I couldn't rest on "not knowing" as an excuse.
Each wellness category is really its own standalone journey and Financial Wellness is one of the most important. Here's why --
In the US:
• 53% of adults are anxious about money
• 2/3 of families don’t have emergency savings
• 75%+ of adults live check to check
• 3 out of 5 adults don’t keep a budget
• Over half of adults carry credit card debt
• And so on...
We are NOT financially well in the US!
Speaking from experience: I was not financially well about 10 years ago.
Financial stress is awful, but with acceptance, effort, vigilance, sacrifice and contentment, I was able to get myself to a healthier space -- and by healthy, I don't mean a mental state of being obsessed with saving and not enjoying life. That's the opposite end of the spectrum. The goal is balance. Prioritization.
I am committed to Financial Wellness for my own holistic health, but also for my child's well-being. Not all family traditions should carry forward. Being obvlivious about money is staying in the past.
I created these 13 steps based on what I found helpful along my walk toward financial health for anyone who is just starting out or looking to revamp their plan.
Share these links with your kids, your partner, other family and friends.
Let's collectively recognize the importance of financial well-being.
That's the first step: Acknowledge that it matters.
Step Two: Define and revist your personal finance vision.
Step Three: Take stock of the alignment between your vision and your actual financial situation.
Step Four: Explore and adjust your emotional attachments to money.
Book Rec: 𝘠𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘕𝘦𝘸 𝘔𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘺 𝘔𝘪𝘯𝘥𝘴𝘦𝘵: 𝘊𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢 𝘏𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘵𝘩𝘺 𝘙𝘦𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘩𝘪𝘱 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘔𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘺 by Brad Hewitt and James Moline.
Step Five: Create S.M.A.R.T. financial goals.
Step Six: Prioritize action steps toward your goals. Writing them down is optimal. This aids in self-accountability.
Step Seven: Create a bare bones budget.
Book Rec: The 21 Day Financial Fast by Michelle Singletary.
Step Eight: Rethink your essentials and cut down further if possible.
Step Nine: Prioritize use of your remaining income with your personal finance goals and vision in mind.
Step Ten: Structure and implement your simultaneous retirement savings and debt elimination strategy.
Step Eleven: Build up your emergency savings.
Step Twelve: Build wealth and protect your legacy.
Step Thirteen: Avoid lifestyle creep like your life depends on it.
Take it one step at a time.
There were times when I never thought I'd see light at the end of the tunnel, but day by day, my hardwork paid off.
Curveballs are inevitable, but being financially well helps weather them.
Additionally, Financial Wellness helps fuel our individual dreams and can make opportunities available for future generations.
It's our turn to raise children who won't stumble on the same blocks because of lack of financial knowledge.