Financial wellness is an important but often overlooked component of personal success. Many people believe that wealth and financial freedom are impossible to attain, but it doesn’t have to be this way. With the right knowledge and tools, anyone can become financially secure and take control of their money. Financial wellness involves learning how to manage your money so it works for you instead of against you. This includes budgeting, saving, investing, understanding insurance policies and taxes, debt management, and planning for retirement. Developing good financial habits now can ensure that you are able to enjoy a more secure future. Here are a few methods to help you get on track with your finances in honor of January being Financial Wellness Month:
Creating a budget is an essential step in understanding where your money is going each month, and helps you stay organized and mindful of how you spend your money. Knowing exactly how much income comes in each month versus what’s leaving makes it easier to make informed decisions about spending or saving for long-term goals like retirement or helping children or grandchildren attend college.
Once you’ve created a budget, the next step is setting aside money into different savings accounts from which to pay bills or save for emergencies. If possible, try setting aside 10% of your income into a savings account each month until your emergency fund reaches a certain threshold such as 3 to 6 months worth of expenses in case something unexpected happens such as job loss or high medical bills.
Once you have built up an emergency fund, consider long-term investments that may provide higher returns than those offered by traditional savings accounts. There are many ways to invest and researching different options available may help find what works best for you. Other important considerations are your risk tolerance level as well as your time horizon.
4. Insurance Policies
It’s important to understand the details of any insurance policy in order to determine if coverage provides protection for unforeseen events or if another policy should be purchased outside of those provided by work benefits programs. When evaluating different plans look at factors like deductibles, copays and coverage levels before signing up for anything new.
5. Debt Management
With the right strategies and perseverance, managing debt doesn’t have to be an insurmountable challenge. By creating a budget and sticking to it, paying off the high interest and smaller debts first, or even considering consolidation, you can begin to make tangible progress in reducing your overall debt.
6. Retirement Planning
Meeting with a financial planner is beneficial when beginning retirement planning efforts so they can assess specific needs based on your lifestyle goals. Financial planners also provide advice on investment strategies as well as tax implications/savings opportunities associated with retirement accounts. Having a financial plan in place gives you peace of mind and a strategy to achieve your objectives.
Financial wellness leads directly towards overall happiness because it removes fear associated with making the wrong decisions about one’s money due to lack of knowledge or reliance or bad information. Taking care of finances responsibly allows you more freedom to focus on the things that matter most to you knowing that you’re prepared for whatever comes your way. Managing your finances can seem daunting and overwhelming, but learning how to properly manage your money and set goals can lead to improved financial health and wellbeing.