Do your finances stress you or promote your well-being? This is Part 4 of our 10-part series on how you can break through barriers blocking you from a life well-lived using the benefits of wellness practice. The series will follow foundational concepts related to wellness and the 9 Dimensions of Wellness.
Are you well, financially?
Do you know the ratio for the flow of your income versus expenses? Do you consistently monitor your cash flow and the value of your assets to plan for your life goals? Do you feel a sense of freedom when thinking about the impact of finances on your life (Melnyk & Neale, 2018)? If you answered yes to all of these questions, then I’d bet (pun intended) that you are practicing financial wellness.
Or, are you part of the 72% of Americans who are “worrying about bills, emergencies, taking care of aging parents, children’s college tuition and their financial future in retirement” (Melnyk & Neale, 2018)? If you’re feeling burdened by your finances, living paycheck to paycheck, or desire to learn more about this critical aspect of wellness, then this article is for you.
You may have heard of the term, “financial wellness”, before but never understood its importance, or fully applied it or other concepts like financial literacy, financial freedom, or generational wealth in earnest before. Or you may have simply gotten off your regimen to your own path to financial independence.
Either way, I hope you can take this article as an introduction or reminder that inspires you to action for understanding financial wellness so that you can practice this aspect of the 9 Dimensions of Wellness regularly.
“Only 16.4% of U.S. students are required to take a personal finance course to graduate high school…Meanwhile, only 5.5% of low income schools (outside of mandate states) have personal finance as a requirement (Desjardins, 2019).”
We know that in America, Black/African American women and other BIPOC individuals earn
substantially less than their White counterparts. (To learn more, visit page 6 at this link, where I discuss resolving pay inequities for Black women as a solution to tangible inclusion in the workplace.)
But did you know that financial wellness pro
motes better sleep, mental health, self-esteem, physical health, and relationships at home (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2023)? Add that to the pay disparities for BIPOC individuals, a history of housing and generational wealth inequities, it can be downright discouraging, to say the least, to begin to imagine possibilities for financial wellness.
Financial wellness is therefore not a luxury but a necessity. Financial wellness is not selfish it is self-care and care for your loved ones. Financial wellness is not for the already wealthy, it is for everyone and a staple for holistic well-being.
Actions to Practice Financial Wellness (and Build Generational Wealth!)
Review your relationship with money. What lessons were you taught verbally and non-verbally growing up about money and its impact on your life? Lessons learned can come from your parent(s)/guardian(s), immediate family, the school system, and your various cultural identities like ethnicity/race, nationality, geographic location of origin/residence, able-bodiedness, religion/spirituality, language(s) of origin, gender, etc. What were you taught to accept and expect regarding money based on your identities? Decide today if you will continue these traditions or not based on if they are serving or hindering your well-being.
Learn your numbers for yourself. Out of sight out of mind doesn't work here. Develop financial literacy and set financial wellness goals to practice in a routine that works for you. Plan the use of your money to prevent guilt and shame for using it as a vehicle for enjoying life. Consider using this spreadsheet to craft your budget for financial wellness and building your net worth.
Open yourself to the possible reality of financial wealth. Never seen a million dollars in money and assets in your family? Be the first! Never seen your parents or grandparents feel financially secure or not worry about bills? Be the first! You can break the cycle of fear over money and create a new one based on power over money.
Hire a financial wellness professional to build generational wealth, financial independence, and if desired, retire early (Note: not an endorsement of coaching services offered in the video)! Generational wealth is the ability to pass down money and assets from one generation to the next. For communities of people who have not seen models of this practice or had access to resources that promote wealth due to their identities, it can be challenging to imagine new possibilities as attainable. If this applies to you, due your due diligence (see points #1-3) and consider hiring a professional for additional support to help you reach your life and financial goals.
Looking for more? Subscribe to the Grace Counseling and Wellness, PLLC newsletter, Saving Grace for insights about prioritizing yourself, having better relationships with yourself and others, and dealing with life when responsibilities begin to feel overwhelming. We aim to empower you to make sense of your life so you can live with grace and wellness.
Desjardins, J. (2019, March 11). Chart: Are today’s students prepared to make financial decisions? Visual Capitalist. https://www.visualcapitalist.com/students-prepared-financial-decisions/
Melnyk , B. M., & Neale, S. (2018). Evidence-based tactics for optimizing your health and well-being. https://wellness.osu.edu/. https://wellness.osu.edu/sites/default/files/documents/2021/05/9%20Dimensions%20of%20Wellness%20Digital.pdf
PricewaterhouseCoopers. (2023). PWC’s 2023 employee financial wellness survey. PwC. https://www.pwc.com/us/en/services/consulting/business-transformation/library/employee-financial-wellness-survey.html