If you’re wondering what Financial Wellness is, you probably aren’t alone. I only read up on it this past weekend (and learnt a lot), so I’ve decided to share some nuggets with you this fine Monday morning.
Financial wellness is exactly what it sounds like: feeling prepared to handle any financial crisis, knowing what’s coming in and going out of your accounts and never feeling stressed over any financial situation, no matter how much money you make.
Just so you don’t get confused and say “its only someone that’s rich that can achieve this one”, financial wellness recognizes that money is not necessarily the end destination, instead money is a tool we use to live our happiest and most fulfilling lives possible.
Good financial wellness is important because it helps our lives be better. We all know that money/finance is one of the most common major stressors. Financial anxiety affects how we think, how we spend, how we make decisions regarding our money and even goes on to affect our relationships. Good financial wellness is knowing how to use the money that we have for our well-being, while also being financially prepared for emergencies, and so on.
The goal is to spend money and know how to spend it, so you’re happy and healthy throughout your life. And no, I’m not saying spend all your money on wigs and clothes, for the women at the back.
What I mean is, we all want to live fulfilling and happy lives. You can’t do all that if you don’t spend money, right?
We all want to look back on our lives when we’re old and grey and be happy at the experiences, memories and happiness we achieved, partly because of how we spent our money.
Financial wellness is more than investing, saving or budgeting; it addresses money as a common stressor and views money as a tool to help us be healthier and happier.
It doesn’t matter if you earn little or earn a lot, you can add it to your self care routine and here’s how:
1. Educate yourself:
Look at me! After spending the weekend educating myself on the topic, I now have a much better understanding. I mean, look at me advising you.
I too have financial anxiety sometimes and a lot of the stress comes from feeling uneducated (I majored in communications, but I wish I had taken a finance class). I’ve come to understand that simply educating yourself can obviously go a long way; It might help ease your stress a bit and you’ll learn a thing or two about managing your finances. I suggest talking to your employer or a professor at your university to see if they offer any financial literacy programs. In the meantime, you can check out Ellevest, a platform dedicated to educating and helping women manage their money.
2. Automate savings:
If you find that you’re having trouble with saving money, or you want to start saving for those big life purchases like traveling or buying a home, try to automate so you don’t have it lingering in your mind. Try Piggyvest, an online savings & investment platform that makes saving easier, you can set up an automatic deposit daily, weekly or monthly. Or you can transfer into a separate account from every salary you earn. Even if its just N500 (or less) that you decide to start with, its a good start!
The key is to save what you can, but remember that you’re saving to eventually spend, so only spend on things that really matter.
3. Budget based on what *truly* sparks joy:
Does it really bring you joy to go out with that one friend you don’t really like (just because you want to post on Instagram so it doesn’t seem like your life is boring), or to buy those pair of shoes you know you wouldn’t wear more than once? Managing your money based on what does and doesn’t bring you joy will reduce the stress that comes with spending money on the items, vacations and so on that you genuinely truly love.
4. Invest in yourself:
Just like you invest money into stocks to get what you initially invested over time, you can invest your money into other things like a gym membership (You. Yes you, when was the last time you worked out?), an online course and so on.
I started gym recently and I paid for a month’s membership. My friend thought I was going to back out but I told her it wasn’t possible because the truth is, you’re more likely to see something through as long as you put your money into it and keep it up as a habit. So decide what you want your habits to be and invest your money to achieve them.
5. Make tracking your money part of your routine:
Its important to make a finance check part of your routine; Set some financial goals at the beginning of the week, or put on a sheet mask every Sunday and go over your bank statements. Not only can this reduce added stress, but you’ll also be more aware of how your money is being spent and you’ll definitely feel more in control of your finances.