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Increasing Your Financial Wellness
I know I’m not the only one who is ready to put 2020 behind me.
It was a hard year for everyone, and in more ways, than I can count. As we look to the new year, I can’t help but remain hopeful for what the next 12 months will bring. I can almost feel the buzz of excitement as vision boards are being assembled, goals are being set, and it’s full-steam ahead to January 1st, 2021. A new chapter. A new set of 365 days. A new year with infinite possibilities.
How do you know you need to incorporate financial wellness into your 2021 goals? Deepak Chopra, Personal Capital’s latest and greatest Financial Hero, says “Fatigue, lack of focus, and loss of sleep are only a few struggles when you are under financial strain.” My hope is that you would pay attention to these signs and use these 5 tips, in Partnership with Personal Capital, to increase your financial wellness in the new year.
1.Let go of shame.
It’s easier said than done, but shame’s gotta go. The first and most important step in financial wellness is dismissing any shame you have around money. Shame is the one thing no one likes to talk about, the thing lurking behind closed doors making us feel unworthy and broken. But listen, you don’t have to conform to the harsh, perfectionist demands that shame requires.
Shame can surface as a lot of things, such as:
The shame of not knowing— not knowing how to invest, budget, negotiate and/or handle money.
The shame of wishing you had learned something sooner.
The shame of being in debt.
The shame of emotionally spending money on stuff you don’t actually enjoy.
The shame of not having a better financial education.
The shame of not feeling worthy of handling money.
First, I want you to stop and realize that it’s okay. When it comes to reflecting on previous money moves, you can’t beat yourself up.
Don’t beat yourself up over what has happened in the past, or decisions you’ve made, or things that you wish you knew sooner.
You are here reading this post today. And that’s a big enough step in and of itself.
If you’re thinking, “Argh, why didn’t I learn this sooner?” you have to let that go.
To let go of shame around money, you need to realize:
✔️The way you think/feel about money is not entirely your fault, but a mixture of systemic structures, societal standards, your upbringing, or bad financial teachers.
✔️You need to forgive and extend grace to yourself for the times you mishandled money or didn’t know what to do in a financial situation, and perfectionism is a direct result of feeling shameful (SPOILER: none of us are perfect).
✔️Realize that it takes time to learn about the best way to manage your finances, and that’s okay. Have patience, friend.
This blog post is an AMAZING step in the right direction, so be proud of yourself for that you’re here and ready to learn.
2.Have a money date.
Once a month, I sit myself down and have what I like to call a “money date.” I put my fuzzy socks on, queue my favorite playlist, pour myself a glass of wine, and spend 30-60 minutes or so taking a good look at my finances. The key is to make it something you actually look forward to.
The first step is securing a date and actually putting it on the calendar— make it a non-negotiable. It’s time to get comfortable with the often uncomfortable feelings around money. Here’s the hard truth about self-care— it’s uncomfortable. I love bubble baths as much as anyone, but real self-care is the hard shit — therapy and going to the gym and having hard conversations and looking at your money.
During your money date, you are going to do these 5 things:
1. Make a note of any mindless purchases. If you find that you are spending money on stuff you don’t actually care about, make a note of how you can alter your spending habits for the next month.
2. List out your subscriptions, and see if there are any you want to cancel and/or forgot to cancel. Because most subscriptions charge you automatically, it’s really easy to forget that they’re there. Take a look and see if there are any you can cancel and pour that money into another financial goal of yours.
3. Look at your account balances in full. For this step, I love using Personal Capital. It’s the tool that I recommend for progress towards your goals because you can see all of your accounts in one place, so it makes your money date go a lot faster.
4. Report any fraud on your account. Did you notice a double charge or a charge that you don’t recognize? Make sure to take time to dispute that shit.
5. Check your progress toward goals. Again, I recommend using Personal Capital for this step. With their intuitive Savings Planner tool, you can see how much you are saving and how much you need to save in order to reach your goals. Use it to plan your annual retirement savings, your emergency fund, and progress towards paying down debt.
3.Set specific goals.
When setting goals around money, you need to get specific— down to the last penny. Try focusing on two types of goals: yearly and monthly. The cool thing is you can create these goals during step 5 of your money date. It’s also important to make actionable goals that you can hit and that are measurable. This will keep you motivated and inspired to keep going.
If you have a goal to save $5,000 by the end of the year, you need to calculate the specific number you must save every month in order to achieve that goal. January would be a great time to do this because you’ll have 12 full months. You would take $5,000 and divide it by 12, which is $416.66. So, you need to set up automatic payments or make sure you are paying yourself that amount each month in order to reach your goal.
Setting goals month over month is just as important. Your monthly goals could be about saving a certain amount (like making sure your $416.66 went through an you’re on track for that $5,000) or educating yourself on certain financial topics such as:
investing beyond retirement accounts
creating a budget that works for you
tracking discretionary spending
4.Stop spending money on things that aren’t important to you.
Emotional spending is purchasing items to help boost your mood in order to feel happier and/or more fulfilled, and this fleeting feeling is, well, just that— VERY short-lived.
Most of the time, these are items that you don’t need and honestly, don’t even want in the long run. It’s a purchase designed to give you a temporary boost, but that ultimately leads you to feel nothing but shame and regret. And those aren’t nice feelings. One of my favorite pieces of financial advice that I wish I could scream from the rooftops is this:
You don’t have to stop spending money. You just have to stop spending money on shit you don’t care about.
*inserts shameless plug about FREE Curbing Emotional Spending course*
I created an entire workshop specifically on this topic and it’s completely free. It’s called “Curbing Emotional Spending: How to Reel in Your Shopping and Start Saving.”
You’ll learn how to:
✔️take control of your money
✔️finally stop buying shit you don’t even like, by asking yourself 5 questions
✔️fall in love with your purchases again, and starting spending according to your values
✔️PLUS— insight into the exact strategy I use to save my clients thousands
5.Track your progress.
Your financial goals are not going to feel very attainable if you don’t take time to track your progress and see how far you’ve come. After you’ve made sure to set specific, measurable goals, you can monitor those measurements during step 5 of your money date.
In order to track your progress,I recommend using Personal Capital. Their platform was a huge reason why I was able to save $100k by 25. You can use it to track your net worth, progress towards goals like saving, debt payoff, and (yes!) your very own $100K.
I’ll leave you with this— Your relationship with money is only one of the facets of making 2021 a rewarding and joy-filled year. As Deepak Chopra says, “You will be successful — if we define success as the progressive realization of worthy goals, the ability to have love and compassion, and finally, to always feel secure about your creativity and self-esteem.”
Personal Capital compensates Tori Dunlap (“Author”) for providing the content contained in this blog post. Additionally, in a separate referral arrangement between Author and Personal Capital Corporation (“PCC”), Author is paid $70 and $150 for each person who uses Author’s webpage (www.HerFirst100k.com) to register with Personal Capital and links at least $100,000 in investable assets to Personal Capital’s Free Financial Dashboard. As a result of these arrangements, Author may financially benefit from referring potential clients to Personal Capital and/or be incentivized to present blog content that is favorable to PCC. No fees or other amounts will be charged to investors by Author or Personal Capital as a result of the Referral Arrangement. Investors that are referred to PCC and subsequently subscribe for investment advisory services provided by PCC’s affiliated adviser, Personal Capital Advisors Corporation (“PCAC”) will not pay increased management fees or other similar compensation to Author, PCC or PCAC as a result of this arrangement.