Financial Well-Being: Six Steps to a Better Life

Just like any other area of well-being, much of being financially healthy comes down to your daily habits.

To begin, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have enough money?
  • Do you have time to participate in things you believe are worthwhile?
  • Are you satisfied with the contribution you make to the world?
  • Are you at peace with money?
  • Does your job reflect your values?
  • Do you have enough savings to see you through six months of normal living expenses?
  • Is your life whole? Do all areas (your job, your expenditures, your relationships, your values) fit together?

If you answered NO to even one of these questions, it may be time for change.

Set yourself up for financial freedom and a better life with these six habits:

  1. Seek education, support, and guidance. Knowledge truly is power when it comes to your money. You do not have to be wealthy or be a finance expert to move forward. There are a ton of resources and learning opportunities available today. Seek support from a financial advisor and friends or family you trust. Continue to stay up to date on financial news and economic changes.
  2. Create a monthly budget. To understand where all your money goes daily, monthly, annually, you must start tracking your spending habits. Documenting your spending can help you assess where there’s room to cut excess costs. It can also help you identify habits you can eliminate or reduce, like that morning Starbucks or gym membership you are not utilizing and allow you to free up additional money in your budget. Create a budget manually or with a budgeting tool such as Nerd Wallet. Check with your current financial institute, as many of them offer free spending and budgeting APPs and tools to their customers.
  3. Live below your means. Once you have analyzed and determined your monthly budget, it is time to take action and increase your savings. Mastering a frugal lifestyle means developing a mindset focused on living a good life with less. Many wealthy people develop a habit of living below their means before reaching financial success. It is an uphill battle to financial freedom if you are spending all or more than you earn. Spending less does not mean compromising on your existing lifestyle or living a barebones life. Financial freedom is more about smart spending which can be done in many creative ways. For example, you can learn to make delicious food at home to reduce dining out expenses or set up auto-debits so that you don’t pay late fees on your credit cards.
  4. Invest and create automated savings. The next habit is to start putting money into savings. Work towards a goal of a six-month emergency fund capable of covering everything from a sudden income loss to major medical issues. Achieving financial freedom will take time, and you need a buffer to pay for life’s unexpected and often expensive surprises. When you have a financial cushion, you can take more risks at work and say yes to things that bring you more joy without fear or guilt. Once you’ve saved your emergency fund, you should begin putting some of your income into investing and saving. The best and most reliable way to establish a spending cushion for your future is through automated savings. Your bank or financial advisor can help you determine the right path for you, but the key is to get started as soon as possible, no matter the amount you are able to contribute.
  5. Differentiate between what you want and what you need. This isn’t a challenge to adopt a minimalist lifestyle. It simply means learning to distinguish between the things you need and the things you want. Prioritize your spending and then make small adjustments that drive big gains for your financial health. A great rule of thumb is the delay method. Before buying anything beyond necessity, give it at least three days before buying. This gives you time to process and assess whether it fits into your budget and future goals.
  6. Don’t borrow what you can’t comfortably afford. A key step toward financial freedom is to examine your finances and identify any issues that need to be resolved. Do you have lots of unsecured debt? Balances on high-interest credit cards? Accounts in collections? If you owe money to others, a good chunk of your monthly income is going to someone else and not to your future. Understand the negative impact of credit card debt on your financial well-being. Learn strategies for paying off credit card balances in full and avoiding high-interest consumer loans. If you get a bonus or a raise, use those funds to first pay off your debt. Make it a goal to maintain a good credit score and understand its implications for future opportunities.

Whether it’s retiring comfortably, pursuing your dream career, or enjoying a certain lifestyle, financial freedom allows you to make choices without the added stress of debt and limitations.

Achieving financial freedom is a journey that requires commitment, discipline, and the cultivation of healthy financial habits. By adopting these six habits, you can take control of your finances, overcome debt, and build a secure future. From setting clear goals and budgeting effectively to investing wisely, these habits will empower you to reach financial freedom and enjoy the life you desire. Start implementing these habits today and witness the transformative power they can have on your financial well-being.

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