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Foundations of Financial Well-Being

What stresses you out the most? If you’re like many, it’s not health, family, or work that bears down the hardest—it’s money. In the United States, financial concerns top the list of stressors, more so than other common triggers. Globally, the sentiment isn't much different; a study shows that a staggering 78% of people feel they’re not on track to achieve their desired retirement income.


Money—whether you have a little or a lot—likely plays a significant role in your stress levels, impacting not just your financial health but also your psychological, physical, and relational well-being. Fortunately, most challenges can be addressed with the right mix of education and action.


Surprisingly, financial literacy is rarely taught in schools, and many are not exposed to it at home or work. If financial well-being is your goal, the journey begins with education and proactive steps.


So, what is financial well-being and why is it crucial?


I view financial well-being as a cultivated state—part mindset, part circumstance, and part feeling. It is developed through a combination of insights, decisions, and actions. This development can be structured into a straightforward three-step framework aimed at fostering peace, confidence, and prosperity:


  1. Awareness

  2. Knowledge

  3. Plan of Action


For this article, let's delve into the first part: Awareness.


Awareness


Awareness involves understanding your relationship with money, assessing your financial circumstances, and pinpointing areas for growth. It starts with examining your money beliefs, culture, motivations, and values.


Let's explore some real-life cases to get a tangible understanding.


Consider the case of Jane, a client who found herself gripped by a deep-seated fear of financial risk. This fear traced back to an early memory of her parents grappling with a devastating financial loss due to a poorly judged investment. Throughout her childhood, Jane witnessed the hardship this caused her family, shaping her belief that the world of investing was fraught with danger and likely loss. This ingrained fear held her back from making any form of investments, stunting her financial growth and opportunities. Through our work together, Jane began to understand the nature of her fear and learned that with proper education, guidance and strategy, investing could be approached in a measured and relatively safe manner. Recognizing and confronting these fears enabled Jane to slowly reshape her financial outlook and take cautious steps toward building her her path to financial freedom.


Consider another client, Lisa, who grew up in a culture where financial success was synonymous with personal worth. From a young age, Lisa was taught that a high net worth was a key indicator of success and respect. This ingrained belief led her to equate her self-worth with her financial status, causing significant emotional distress during economic downturns or personal financial struggles. For Lisa, fluctuations in her investments or unexpected expenses would trigger deep feelings of failure and inadequacy.


The process of developing awareness for Lisa involved deconstructing these deep-seated beliefs and understanding their origins. By acknowledging that her self-worth was independent of her financial status, Lisa began to develop a healthier relationship with money, one that allowed her to face financial ups and downs with resilience rather than fear.


Developing awareness of your money mindset and behaviors can be transformative.


Explore your own stories about money. What are the subconscious narratives affecting you today?


Awareness isn’t a one-time activity but a foundational element that weaves through your financial journey, evolving as your life and perspectives change.


To help you on this path, I’ve included a Financial Well-being Awareness Self Assessment. Reflect on these points to better understand where you stand and what areas might need more attention:


  • Have I identified my beliefs about money?

  • Is there anything from my financial past that would benefit from resolution?

  • Have I mapped out my financial needs and goals?

  • Do I understand my motivations regarding money?

  • Have I identified and articulated my values around finances?

  • Do I engage in discussions with loved ones, especially those closest to me, about finances?

  • Do I have a good grasp of my financial situation—income, spending, savings, and investments?

  • Am I aware of the changes I can make to improve my financial well-being?


Positive change starts with awareness.


Ready to Explore Your Financial Well-Being?


Navigating your financial journey can be complex and often daunting. If today's discussion sparked questions or if you found yourself relating to the stories shared, I'm here to help guide you further. Schedule a free discovery call with me. This is a great opportunity for us to explore your financial landscape together, identify potential areas of improvement, and discuss how you can achieve greater peace and prosperity in your financial life.




Sources: American Psychological Association, BlackRock People & Money 2020 Study.

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