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"Money, like emotions, is something you must control to keep your life on the right track." ~ Natasha Munson

What is Financial Wellness?

According to SAMHSA, financial wellness is satisfaction with current and future financial situations.

Why is Financial Wellness Important?

"Financial wellness is a state of being wherein you have control over day-to-day, month-to-month finances; have the capacity to absorb a financial shock; are on track to meet your financial goals and have the financial freedom to make the choices that allow you to enjoy life." (CFPB)

Understanding money matters is critical to our well-being. Our financial position can affect our emotional state, causing anxiety, depression, or fear, when we run into financial trouble. It can also impact our ability to access necessities, such as food and shelter if we mismanage or don't have the resources coming in to meet our obligations.

~ A devastating scenario ~ "An individual can't afford housing. The individual's depression is exacerbated. The individual is then unable to go to work. Creating a vicious never-ending cycle."

Common Financial Practices

Managing how our money is saved, invested, and spent is critical to our well-being. Understanding essential money matters, including financial processes and resources around income, debt, and savings, can lead to a sense of self-trust and security. Here are some steps to get on a path to better financial health.

  • Establish a budget

Identify all your expenses (obligations). Put them down on paper (or computer), so you can track payments compared to any anticipated income. Give every dollar you earn a purpose (before you earn it). This system will create awareness and identify any areas that may need to be changed. It can also lead to accountability and confidence. 

  • Create a saving plan

This plan is more than having a well-funded savings account (even though that is important). It's essential to have a saving plan that includes an emergency fund for those unexpected moments.  And trust me, they will happen, often when we least expect it. But we also need a plan for the future. Take a moment to think about your future and what you'll need to achieve that goal/lifestyle. Being prepared for the unexpected and planning for the future can alleviate unnecessary worry and stress.

  • Manage debt effectively

Understand what we owe and have a plan to pay down any credit card balances. It's also essential to pay our bills on time each month. Debt management starts by making purposeful, informed decisions and learning to live within our means, which is often easier said than done, especially with the ease and temptation of credit cards and loans. However, the stress caused by mountains of debt could strain our relationships, leading to arguments or withdrawal from friends and family. Having effective debt management practices can improve our quality of life, reduce stress, and build assurance and confidence in our future.

  • Remember to have fun

Sticking to a budget and making financially responsible decisions may not always leave much money over at the end of the month. So, finding inexpensive, creative ways to have fun is crucial for our mental health. Have a picnic in the park. Build a fort with the kids and play a board game. Volunteer at your favorite non-profit. Raleigh has a great resource at (for volunteer ideas).

Finances and Our Relationships

Our habits and thoughts about money matters (saving, spending, and investing) are influenced by our family's values and beliefs and typically a result of what we observed in our parents (how they thought/used/valued money) as we grew up. We need to take the time to share these values with our partner to avoid arguments since differences can lead to stress and conflict.

When couples struggle with different thoughts and beliefs about money, engaging in open conversations around expectations and fears is beneficial. Start simple. Establish a plan, get motivated to stay on track in the face of difficulties, and believe in your ability to take control of your money that puts you on a path to financial freedom.

Financial Wellness Does Not Mean Wealth.

Financial wellness focuses on our ability to feel confident and secure about our financial situation (present and future). It does not mean, nor does it require great wealth. Whether discovered with $100 or $100,000 in the bank, learning to live within our means is about management and discipline.

Our financial resources are heavily influenced by the career choices that we make. Does our current job allow us to meet our financial obligations and still have the resources to do the things we enjoy? If not, we may want to explore a career change, ask for a raise, or consider a side-hustle - start a new business or freelance, to help reduce the gap. 

Our financial wellness is strengthened when we develop smart money habits. Feeling safe and secure about our financial future encompasses a career that provides for our desired lifestyle (or a plan to get there); a method to track and manage our spending and saving habits responsibly; and a willingness to compromise and talk when struggles arise. Money is not what makes us happy. Although, individuals are more likely to experience worries and anxiety about money if they don't have healthy money habits or an effective plan.

Questions to Guide Your Financial Wellness:

  1. Are you using your money responsibly?

  2. Do you feel confident about your current and future financial situation?

  3. Do your behaviors reflect your beliefs and values about money?

  4.  Do you have a working budget?

  5. Does your current job allow you to meet your obligations without overextending yourself?

  6. Do you have a plan to pay down any debt in a manageable way?

  7. Do you have a savings plan that aligns with your life goals (vacation, major purchases, retirement)?

  8. Do you know your credit score?

If you start exploring financial wellness and find yourself struggling with overwhelming worry or stress, please follow the link to talk more about how I can support you on this journey. WovenGrace Wellness

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