I came across a meme
on Pinterest that literally stopped me in my tracks.
It said, “If you don’t make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness.” #readthatagain
Why Financial Wellness Matters
The truth of it was simple and clear and could apply to so many areas of life. This meme was about physical health and wellness but there are parallels to our financial lives. We live in such a “buy now, pay later world” that we’ve become adept at ignoring serious issues that could affect our future. A single donut, or even three donuts in a single sitting is not going to wreck my physical health; three donuts a day, everyday will have serious consequences on my health. A venti-sized skinny vanilla latte ($4.65) every once in a while will not break my budget; one every day for a year ($1697.25) will add up to three car payments or a cruise to the Mediterranean. That’s impactful. Almost painful. We may not feel the financial effects of daily spending until they stack up and become an obstacle that stands between us and something we need or want.
What is Financial Wellness?
I find definitions
really helpful. Sometimes you can be familiar with a word or even use it on a
regular basis but still not be able to define it.
~Illness (noun) An
unhealthy condition of body or mind
(Merriam-Webster online dictionary)
~Wellness (noun) The
quality or state of being in good health especially as an actively sought
goal//lifestyles that promote wellness
(Merriam-Webster online dictionary)
If you have an inkling that you may not be as financially healthy as you would like to be, please pay attention to the nudge on the inside before things get too far off track. But please, if you are facing a bigger challenge, don’t despair because there are always things you can do to get your financial health back.
Tips to Get Financially Healthy
1. KNOW YOUR NUMBERS
The same way a
doctor needs to know your vitals to help you get healthy, there are numbers
that indicate where you are financially so that you can move in the direction
your credit score
how much you owe
your debt to income ratio
2. PARTNER WITH SOMEONE
Facing challenges alone is scary. Don’t let shame or embarrassment keep you from seeking help and sink further into financial illness. There’s a proverb that asks the question; how do you eat and elephant? The answer is one bite at a time. A certified financial counselor is an invaluable resource and they can help you devour your financial elephant one chunk at a time with the following tools:
- They will assist you in building a budget to keep track of your income, debt and expenses
- Just like a gym trainer, a financial counselor can help you gain a financially healthy lifestyle
- Credit counselors help you deal with creditors who may seem as large as giants. They’ll show you tools to knock your debt down to size
- Financial counselors are great accountability partners. Sometimes we need another human being to help us make wise decisions consistently until we find our own rhythm and are habituated into a healthy lifestyle on our own.
3. BE OPEN TO NEW WAYS OF THINKING AND LIVING
We need to break old habits in order to establish new ones. Just like the daily donut, some old habits may be comforting but ultimately destructive. Changing one’s life to become healthier IS NOT EASY but it is worth it for a better future. Financial boundaries aren’t there to keep you from enjoying your best life. Limits can become your strongest allies to achieving financial wellness.
- This will not be a sprint but a marathon. Change takes time, so be patient with yourself
- Find ways to enjoy your new lifestyle with inexpensive or free rewards; go to the library or community events; volunteer your services to those who may need them; get a part-time job to support a passion
- Find friends, family members, online or community groups who also embrace healthy financial lifestyles, and use them as a support. Weight loss groups, sober living groups and creative artist groups all work for a reason; they let you know you’re not alone and they encourage you to make good decisions during vulnerable times.
As you move from financial illness to financial wellness, we would love to partner with you on your journey. The CESI Team is committed to helping you reach your financial goals. If debt keeps you from living the life you dream of, contact us for a free debt analysis or schedule an appointment with one of our credit counselors and get started on the road to a brighter future!