Financial health includes recognizing the decisions you make about your money and how those decisions impact you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. For example, choosing to walk rather than drive positively impacts your physical health and saves money from fueling your car.
Consider your financial health as a road on which you travel. There are many roads you may take. Each time you receive or exchange money, a decision is made. You may decide on a road that is rocky, sandy, smooth, vertical—or perhaps even watery, like a lake, ocean, or river. Your road will lead you to a variety of destinations. Do you recognize the road you are on right now? Do you know where your road is taking you? Are you enjoying your journey?
Going along with the idea that your financial health is a road on which you travel, what are some habits that can make your travel experience more enjoyable? Following are some habits you may already follow or may be interested in implementing, represented by the acronym ROAD.
Record your money. How is money coming into your life? How do track your money right now? Record where your money is located (i.e., the name of your bank or credit union). Then, record where it is going or how you are spending it. Write down the information or use a financial app to access it. Often, financial apps are the easiest way to access your money records. You may find financial apps are available either through your financial institution or an independent service. Do your due diligence. Research the available apps and decide whether one app may be a good fit for you and your lifestyle.
Observe where your money is going. Look through your money records for the past week and the past month. What do you see? Which purchases or expenses brought you joy? Which purchases created anxiety for you? Are there things you wish you hadn’t bought? Are there things you wish you had bought? Do you wish you had spent your money differently? How? Write down your observations.
Aim to align your money with your intentions. Take a moment to reflect on your observations, do you find a recurring theme (or two)? For example, did you write down that you wish you had taken that trip to the beach with your friends? Perhaps you like traveling. You may write: “My intention is to travel.” Of course, not all intentions require spending money. Perhaps you noticed that you spent money when you were emotionally upset. Frame this observation from the perspective of a positive intention. You may write: “My intention is to redirect my money toward saving for my future.” Once you have written down your intention, underneath it, write down one to two actionable ideas that you may do to align your money with your intentions.
Do the work. The decisions you make about your finances impact your health in a variety of ways. Every day, you make decisions about the kind of life you want. The life you have right now is the result of many decisions over time. You made those decisions then. Now, armed with knowledge about yourself—where you have been, where you want to go—you may make new decisions. You have agency. You control where your money goes.
Motivational posters and best-selling songs tout the story of the journey, not the destination. Your road is your choice. Which ROAD will you choose?
Wendolyn Forbes is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ with Wealth Transition Finance, A Member of Advisory Services Network, LLC, where she offers financial planning and investment management services for either a one-time or on-going cost. For more information about Wendolyn’s financial services practice, please visit her website at www.wtf-asn.com.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.
This material is provided as a courtesy and for educational purposes only. Please consult your investment professional, legal or tax advisor for specific information pertaining to your situation.
Originally published in Rumble by Smoky Mountain News on July 27, 2022. https://www.smokymountainnews.com/lifestyle/rumble/item/34012-on-the-road-to-financial-health