Wellness Series Part 5
As planned, this week we will be diving deeper into the fifth wellness dimension in our wellness series – our Financial Wellness.
When discussing the concept of wellness and self-care, looking to our finances is the last thing that we usually do, but financial wellness is actually considered to be a very important dimension for our overall health and well-being.
So this week, we will be discussing the concept of financial well-being, why our financial wellness dimension is so important and why we should save. We will also be looking at signs of financial wellness, some financial wellness tips and ways to prioritise our financial health. Our weekly goal-setting and self-care challenge along with various self-reflection questions will also be included in today’s post.
With that being said, our financial well-being includes:
- Being in control of our every day and/or monthly expenses
- The ability to meet our most basic needs
- The ability to withstand any financial shock/strain
- Meeting our financial goals
- Having the freedom to make financial choices that allow us to experience a happy and satisfying life (SmartAboutMoney).
Financial Wellness is not only dependent on how much we individually earn – it’s actually about having peace that we will have money when we need it as well as it is about knowing how to positively manage our money (Connor, 2019).
Prioritisng our financial well-being allows us to have ways that can lead to various rewards, positive outcomes for the future and a better standard of living (Connor, 2019). There is no doubt that money plays an ongoing, vital role in our lives. After all, not having enough money/financial security has the ability to impact our health as well as our academic and work performance. In fact, financial stress is found to be a one of the main causes of stress, anxiety and fear, especially among students (UCDavis).
Students in particular, are often left to face significant amounts of financial distress. Student debt and having to repay student loans can sometimes feel like an ongoing challenge, especially with other rising costs that can come with working towards a higher education. Keeping up various financial responsibilities, along with a busy academic schedule can also feel like a constant uphill battle and can make it even more difficult for students to cope. However, learning about and dedicating time to improve one’s financial wellness can help an individual to feel less stressed and more prepared for the future. Practicing this act of self-care can therefore lead to the opportunity to develop positive financial habits that can pave a way towards future goals and success (UCDavis).
Keeping track of our expenses, creating a personal budget and sticking to it as much as possible are only a few important skills that we need to have in order to be/feel financially responsible and independent (UCDavis).
The most important point to remember is that maximising our financial wellness is a process that does not happen immediately. Being proactive by looking for resources, asking for help and learning about healthy money-managing strategies to build our financial wellness is a step in the right direction (UCDavis).
Financial Wellness Tips:
- Identify and address any potential financial concerns/problems
- Keep updated, organised records of your finances
- Take advantage of student discounts
- Plan ahead – plan for your future (for example, learn as much as you can about saving and investments)
- Set a budget and have different financial goals
- Have healthy, open discussions with your partner about money
- Balance your other dimensions of wellness and prioritise financial acts of self-care (UCDavis)
Signs of Financial Wellness:
- Learning how to manage your money
- Establishing a personal budget
- Not living beyond your means
- Making a plan to pay back your student loans/debt
- Learning about debt/tax and how to manage it
- Building good credit
- Thinking about and planning for the future
- Learning to not allow money to be the driving force of your life
- Donating some of your money to a cause that you believe in (University of New Hampshire).
We save money because of:
- Sustainability for family and our future standard of living
- The means to live longer (for example, a longer life expectancy)
Saving money and planning ahead is the most important step in financial wellness because it is impossible for us to predict the future. Saving and prioritising our investments can help us to become financially secure and can provide security in times of emergency (PocketSmart).
Since all of our wellness dimensions are linked, our financial wellness can have an affect on our overall health and well-being. This is because it is said that our financial well-being affects our sense of security. Without financial wellness, we are not able to take care of our most basic needs, which can manifest in chronic stress and can affect our mental, emotional and physical state. After all, financial independence allows us choice and freedom. Debt and a lack of financial control can lead to depression, anxiety and suicide risk (Connor, 2019).
Talking about money openly and honestly is also key to a healthy financial relationship and will lead to sustainability for your future, your yourself, your children, your family and your life as a whole (Connor, 2019).
25 ways to prioritise Financial Wellness:
- Spend less than you earn (for example, know what your basic income can allow after tax)
- Save as much as you can from the very beginning (for example, have a set amount of money to pay towards your savings account each month – usually around 10% of your income)
- Only borrow what you can afford
- Grow your money (for example, work with a financial/tax advisor)
- Protect what you have (for example, your investments, income, property and insurance)
- Plan for the future (for example, plan for your retirement, emergency expenses and any downturns)
- Live off a set income level and try to save as much money around that
- Know where your money is going (for example, review items that you spend money on to assess where the majority of your money is spent so you can cut back in certain areas)
- Develop a monthly budget
- Refrain from using your credit card as much as possible
- Plan ahead for major purchases/expenses
- Get tax advice/guidance
- Keep good financial records
- Think about your financial goals for the week, month and even year (for example, you can discuss this with your partner or keep a record in your journal)
- Always ask for a slip
- Keep your money in one place or the same places (for example, have a jar where you store loose change)
- Protect your financial information at all costs (for example, your PIN numbers for your cards, learn about ATM safety and when purchasing items online)
- Categorise your money (for example: savings, holiday fund, emergencies, retirement, education, food, entertainment, insurance, medical aid, pet expenses)
- Make sure you pay towards your most basic needs for the month first
- Check your financial statements as much as you can
- Attend workshops/programmes that can teach you about healthy financial habits
- Use university resources
- Spend wisely
- Attend counselling if any more help is needed or if you feel as if you cannot cope with your current circumstances
- Learn from those around you/ask for advice from someone who is good with money (Nelnet: Education loan services).
Financial Wellness self-care goal setting: Think of one main, long-term goal you would like to focus on in your personal self-care plan. For example: “I would like to start saving more money in my day-to-day life”
Now, think of two short-term goals/acts of self-care that you can incorporate into your day-to-day life in order to reach your main goal. For example: “I am going start working with a monthly budget and seeking as much advice/guidance as I can from those around me who have good/healthy experiences with finances”
Financial Wellness challenge for the week:
- Monday: Think about/draw up a personal budget around your basic income after paying tax
- Tuesday: Write out a list of all your main, important monthly expenses
- Wednesday: Have a discussion with your partner, your parent/guardian or even your children about the importance of saving and preparing for the future
- Thursday: Categorise your money and write out how much you put towards each category a month (for example, entertainment or food)
- Friday: Clean out/sort out your wallet
- Saturday: Think of two personal financial goals
- Sunday: Read through and think about this blog posts self-reflection questions
- What did I just read about?
- Do I feel as if I am currently looking after my financial wellness?
- Do I have a budget?Am I currently saving as much as I can?
- Did I learn anything from this blog post?
- Do I experience any stress or negative emotions because of my finances?
- Am I planning for my future?
- Will I be able to cope with any sudden financial emergencies?
- How did this blog post make me feel?
- How can I begin to prioritise my financial wellness into my personal self-care plan?
- What can I keep in mind for the future from this blog post?
I hope you enjoyed this weeks blog post as much as I did. In the next blog post, we will be discussing our Spiritual Wellness!
Thank you for reading xx
For more information, use the following links:
- SmartAboutMoney: My financial well-being plan. Habits that build financial well-being.
- Connor, L. (2019, September 27). How to look after you financial well-being.
- UCDavis: Student health and counselling services. Financial Wellness.
- University of New Hampshire: Health and wellness. Living well services – financial wellness.
- PocketSmart. The importance of saving money.
- Nelnet: Education loan services. Managing your money: nine tops to achieving financial wellness.