As the scope of wellness has extended to mindfulness, gut health, and body image in recent years, another sea change is happening: This time, with your money. In other words, you may have noticed that finances have become a main topic of conversation at brunch with your best friends.
But why is this happening? Perhaps because we're finally waking up to the fact that financial wellness is an important part of the happiness equation. In a recent survey, 87 percent of American respondents said nothing makes them happier or more confident than healthy finances.
Achieving money-related balance isn’t necessarily about a set dollar amount or your ability to pay for something expensive without flinching. It can be as simple as chatting about kickstarting your travel fund or whether or not your company offers a 401(k) match.
“Financial wellness is about developing a healthy relationship with money—to include feeling a sense of control over short-term financial obligations while also successfully working toward moderate and longer term goals,” says Dena Roten, Managing Director and Head of Citi® US Branch Network. "Americans demonstrate an increasing desire for financial independence. We see a lower likelihood of debt (especially among millennials) and a stronger appetite for online budgeting tools."
"Financial independence affords us the opportunity to live the way that we want.”
So why are terms like "high-yield savings" and "compound interest" taking over your wellness lexicon? Shanna Tyler, a life coach who works with entrepreneurial women, posits that healthy pleasures and personal finances are inescapably intertwined. Ever pay $45 for a boutique spin class or $7 for collagen-boosted coffee? Exactly.
And while those items aren't necessary to living a fulfilled life, an occasional splurge can add mileage to your overall positivity meter. "Financial independence affords us the opportunity to live the way that we want," says Tyler.
You can also give credit to social media. Turns out, the same wellness influencers we're following for golden milk recipes are inspiring us to chase financial autonomy with a constant, open dialogue about money and the freedom it affords. "I’ve seen an increase of financial podcasts run by women, social-media posts by women sharing their money stories, and honest conversations at the table amongst women on salaries, rates, and more," Tyler says. "It’s so empowering.”
Keep reading to find out why financial health is connected to your overall wellbeing—and how to achieve it.
Why financial health is top of mind now more than ever
As the CEO and founder of Ladies Get Paid, a career-advancement platform, Claire Wasserman traveled to 19 cities across the country in 2018 and talked to more than 5,000 women. Her takeaway? The fire is stoked. “These women realize that money can be the foundation for their ability to take risks,” Wasserman says. “Whether it’s leaving a relationship or leaving a job, [it's beneficial to have] their finances in order."
And that can lead to having more freedom in your career. As Tyler works with clients, a top question that keeps coming up is: How can I make money doing what I love? "There is a shift going on that is empowering us as women," Tyler says. " We’re reclaiming our power and looking for ways to make money and enjoy it."
As more people align themselves with full-picture wellness, confidence in your finances becomes a huge part of the feel-good puzzle. "People want to be emotionally, mentally, and physically well and finances naturally fit into this," Roten says. You want to equip yourself with the know-how and emotional fortitude to deal with student-loan debt, rising costs of living, and negotiating a raise.
And this knowledge breeds confidence. "People who feel financially confident generally demonstrate higher levels of emotional wellness," Roten says. "A feeling of financial security enables an employee to focus more fully on occupational wellness." When you're not panicking about bills, you can focus on chasing your career goals.
How to improve your own financial situation
One essential step toward money confidence is actively talking about your finances. "The most important financial practice I’ve instituted is being able to talk about money openly," Tyler says.
You don't have to divulge personal details about your savings and debt to your whole friend group, but tapping a personal mantra or meeting with a financial pro to put together an action plan can help. “Today, I write that I’m grateful for [financial success], and I meet with a financial trainer to keep me accountable," says Tyler.
If you're confused by a particular topic (like the different kinds of retirement funds), read up. "There are plenty of free resources online to help you learn the basics of financial literacy," Roten says. "Your bank can be another great resource."
Then commit to small ways to improve your current financial situation. It can be as simple as bringing your lunch a few times a week or setting up an automatic transfer each month to your savings account. "Small changes can make a big difference and help build confidence and discipline over time," notes Roten.
Lastly, be sure to celebrate milestones along the way. Says Roten, "Success begets more success and the joy that comes with the feeling of financial accomplishment can create a powerful halo in other wellness dimensions of your life." It's official: Finances are the new frontier for your wellness routine.
Sponsored by Citi
Photo: Getty Images
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