If we are not well with money, everything from relationships to our work is affected.
What does it mean to be “well” with money?
We know what it means to be well with our bodies, our minds, our hearts and our souls. I can remember my papa singing the old hymn “It Is Well With My Soul” and understanding that concept. I can have an annual physical and know if I am well in my body.
But to be well with my money? What does that look like and how do I know if I am sick or well? And why does it matter?
When something is not right with our physical bodies, we start to see symptoms popping up. I went my whole life eating eggs and almost overnight, eggs made me sick. How does this happen?
I am sure many have experienced something like this, where suddenly it seems that things are not right. Maybe you have never had knee trouble and before you know it, you have a profound limp after your daily jog. Often, these symptoms and ailments go unnoticed until they become too much to bear in everyday life and we are forced to pay attention and seek care.
The same can be true when we look at financial health.
You can be going along thinking everything is fine, then you’re slammed with a job loss. You might find yourself without a steady paycheck but on the surface, all looks OK because you are debt-free and have an emergency fund.
But then you remember when you were young and your mom, the primary earner in the house, lost her job. It devastated the family for a period of time and you start to worry that this past experience will now be your experience.
Even though you are OK from a dollar standpoint, you might feel unhealthy with your financial life.
Our past experiences and family history have ways of shaping us in all areas of life, especially with money matters.
What we believe about money, how we react to money and our habits around money are all largely shaped by how money was discussed and used when we were growing up. You likely did not have a lot of formal education around money, so you learned from your family and friends.
These early experiences shape our money stories and create scripts and narratives around money. Much like our physical wellness, how well we are with money can impact a lot of areas of our lives. If I were to break my dominant hand, this would impact my work and my ability to type and write; it would impact my ability to wash my hair, make my own food and even my ability to drive.
If we are not well with money, it will impact our ability to focus on our work, our relationships and our ability to provide for our needs, It will cause our stress levels to be elevated.
Don’t believe me? Think about how different your life would be and look if you were to lose half of your assets overnight. Would your concentration at work be the same? Would it impact your relationships? How about your stress level? Being well with money is as critical to our ability to live the life we want as is our physical health.
So how can we be well with money?
Spend the time to understand your money history and your beliefs and stories around money. Are these beliefs pushing you toward your goals or holding you back? Set goals beyond accumulating money. Know what you are saving for, and understand the goals and aspirations you have for your career, relationships and what you want to master next.
Check your money vital signs.
Are you spending below or above your means? Do you have adequate savings for an emergency? Are you saving 15% to 20% of your income for future needs? Are you properly insured? Do you have an estate plan in place? If you are feeling that you are not as healthy with money as you would like to be, I recommend seeking out a professional like a Certified Financial Planner who can partner with you and help you improve your money wellness.
I believe true wealth is having the money to live the life you want to live, aligning your abilities and talents with your values and being healthy enough to live your life.
Jessi Chadd is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional and a member of Financial Planning Association of Greater Kansas City. She is a principal and chief wealth officer with Aspyre Wealth Partners® in Overland Park.
This article was originally published in the Kansas City Star. Read it there or listen at: https://www.kansascity.com/news/business/personal-finance/article264866114.html#storylink=cpy