You likely have some ideas on how to feel physically and emotionally well. Eating a nutritious diet full of fruits and vegetables, moving a little bit each day, and finding safe ways to connect with loved ones can keep you feeling well.
You know it’s important to see the doctor and take any prescribed medications. But what about your bank account? Financial wellness tips are equally important to your lifestyle.
Are you struggling to get out of debt, or do you feel like you just haven’t saved enough for retirement? Maybe you aren’t completely sure the retirement account you are using is the best way to optimize your savings, but you’re finding it hard to cut through all the industry jargon. Don’t worry, you aren’t alone.
Our financial wellness tips can help you live life to the fullest. That’s why there’s now a whole month dedicated to financial literacy: April. Started 2004, Financial Literacy Month emphasizes the need for public awareness about financial education and the consequences of not understanding the keys to money management. It gives you a chance to evaluate your money and make large or small changes to your finances.
Let’s dive deeper into the importance of Financial Literacy Month and what you can do to stay financially healthy.
The Importance of Financial Wellness
Financial wellness tips are important as they can actually affect your physical and mental health. You need money to pay for medical expenses. What’s more, over two-thirds of Americans say money is a somewhat, or very significant source of stress, according to the American Psychological Association.
Saving can also help you do more of what you love, such as travel for leisure. Financial literacy enables you to protect yourself against fraud. Bad actors sometimes use people’s lack of understanding about finances, government, and technology to trick people into wiring large chunks of their savings to them.
For example, someone may pose as a member of the IRS and say that you are late on your taxes and need to pay immediately to avoid further penalty. If you had records of your taxes on hand, you’d feel more confident in hanging up on the criminal.
How to Stay Financially Healthy
Math may not have been your best subject in school. However, you don’t need to be a whiz at calculus or a certified professional accountant to work on your financial health. These financial wellness tips are the sort that nearly anyone can implement.
1 – Regularly Evaluate Finances and Goals
Before you can take a step forward, you need to assess and reassess your current situation and past. The first step in our financial wellness tips is to ask yourself these questions:
- How much money do I have in savings?
- When would I like to retire?
- How many retirement accounts do I have?
- What’s my current budget? Is there an area where I’m spending too much, such as on shopping?
- What do I want out of life? Am I saving enough to reach those goals?
- Do I want to leave money and assets behind when I am gone? How much, and to whom?
2 – Set Goals to Achieve Financial Wellness
Once you’ve evaluated your current financial situation, you can begin to set short and long-term goals for yourself. Short-term goals are attainable within about two years. Give yourself two to five years for mid-range goals and five years or more for long-term objectives.
When setting goals, try using the acronym SMART.
S stands for specific. It zeroes in on what you want to achieve. For example, perhaps you want to be able to travel to Europe in five years.
M is for measurable. You need to be able to measure whether or not you achieved your goal or are hitting certain benchmarks.
A stands for achievable. Goals may require hard work to achieve, but you will get frustrated if they are impossible. If you want to retire comfortably at the age of 50 and you are 51-years-old, your goal is not achievable. However, you may be able to retire comfortably at the age of 55 years old.
R is for rewarding. When you reach the goal, you want to feel good about what you’ve done. Thinking about the reward can make working towards the goal more inspiring.
T is for trackable. You can set incremental goals, schedules and milestones for larger objectives and track your progress.
3 – Track Your Finances
Tracking can help you achieve financial wellness goals and hold yourself accountable. Create a spreadsheet or a written log of your budget for the month and note every penny spent and saved. This action can help you figure out areas where you can cut down on spending and also help you put more money towards your goals if you have money left over at the end of the month.
4 – Debt Free is the Way to Be
Not all debt is bad debt. If you went back to school, you might have needed to take out school loans. Unpaid credit cards can hurt your credit score. Either way, if you have debt, it’s best to try to get rid of it as quickly as possible to bolster your credit score and give yourself more room to save.
There are two common ways to get out of debt. The first involves paying off the debt with the smallest balance first while continuing to make payments on other debts. The second has you pay off the debt with the largest interest rate first to save money long-term.
A financial advisor can help you choose the best path for your situation and get you on the fast track with their own financial wellness tips.
5 – Create a Team around these Financial Wellness Tips
You may not be a pro at numbers or finances. However, you can find someone who is to help you out. There are a few people you may want to consider for your financial team on your way to achieve financial wellness.
- Certified Professional Accountant: These professionals can help you during tax season. They’ll ensure you pay the correct amount and optimize your refund. They’ll also provide you with documentation to keep on file should any issues arise with your taxes.
- Financial advisors. These gurus can help you invest and save for goals, such as opening an education fund for a grandchild or an IRA for yourself. They can also help you with estate planning and have financial wellness tips of their own.
All Said and Done
These financial wellness tips will set you on the right path, but it is not always short and simple. Once you start taking steps towards a financially stable life, everything begins to run much more smoothly. The key is to just get started.