Financial Wellness is not about how much money you have in the bank. It’s about how well you manage your personal finances to achieve your goals. To understand how to manage your finances, you first need to understand your goals and priorities so you can make a plan and know how you can adjust your budget if needed. Financial wellness is a lifelong process of continuous learning and discipline.
Here are a few tips to get started on your financial wellness journey.
- Understand your goals – It’s important to set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, and time-bound. Whether your goal is to save for a house, pay off student loans or save for retirement, it is important to be able to measure your progress and set realistic goals based on your income and ability to achieve these goals.
- Believe in yourself – Even if you made poor financial decisions in the past or think you are falling behind your peers in achieving the American dream, shed those thoughts and focus on you. Achieving financial wellness is not about keeping up with others; everyone's financial situation is unique. It is about learning to live within your means and working toward your personal financial goals.
- Be mindful about your finances – In this environment of instant gratification, it can be difficult to set long-term goals and invest in your retirement since it seems years out. This may be an opportunity to decide if you really need all of those streaming services, latest fashions, or trendy purchases and evaluate how those items support or detract from your personal financial goals.
- Create a budget –This may be easier said than done. Building a realistic budget may take a few versions until you are fully able to understand how you are spending your money and how you can adjust to create a budget that works for you. John Hancock Financial recommends using the 50-20-30 rule. This means 50% of your income is for essential living expenses; 20% is for savings and 30% is for everything else. For many people, this may reflect an ideal budget, and individual situations may have a larger percentage of income going toward rent or mortgage expenses depending on things like housing prices in your area.
To achieve financial wellness, remember it’s a journey and won’t happen overnight. If you would like more information about developing a savings plan, PERA offers free webinars.