Financial wellness is an integral part of our overall wellbeing. When we know where we are at, where we are going and what our triggers are, we can relieve stress and build confidence. And that’s when we can start to achieve more in our lives!
For some, achieving financial wellness can seem like a “big” concept and not within our reach – so daunting that we sometimes don’t even know where to start. At Autumn, we think it starts by looking inward. We’re talking about our core values, internal beliefs, and our “why”.
Like with many other things, our financial habits tend to stem from our inner mindset and our intrinsic attitudes. These internal attitudes, that can lie deep within us, are usually shaped by our past experiences and our belief system. Not only do they affect many parts of how we live our lives, they can also very much affect our attitude toward money – everything from spending patterns to investing too.
What factors influence your money habits and behaviours? And how can you align your goals with things that really matter to you?
In this article, we highlight some of the ways you can start looking inward:
1.Start with your “why” 🕵️
The first foundational step – establishing your “why” and understanding what matters to you most. So what is a ‘why’ statement’? According to Simon Sinek, it is: “The compelling higher purpose that inspires us and acts as the source of all we do”. This is what will keep you going when the going gets tough and what you will come back to when you want to give up. When you make financial and life decisions based on this statement or set of values, you’ll feel a greater sense of fulfilment in your life.
Core values sound like something many of us should know – ironically, when many of us sit down to reflect, it is much more of a nebulous concept. To start, make a list of up to three values that matter most to you. In other words, think about what brings meaning to your life; what do you stand for? Some examples include family, growth, or ambition. These values may change over time but keep them in mind as you start setting financial goals, when you’re building a budget, and so on.
2.Think about your money influence 👫
- What did your family teach you about money?
- How did your family’s approach to money affect you? Did you follow the same money habits or swing in the opposite direction?
- How do your close friends approach money?
Next, think about your personal triggers: when you decided to buy that fifth pair of Nike sneakers in the same week, or make an impulsive purchase of the newest Dyson model at midnight, what emotions were you experiencing? Stress? Peer pressure? Comfort?
Gaining a deeper awareness of yourself and your triggers can propel you to make incremental changes with clarity.
Hear what Financial Wellness Coach, Michelle Howell has to share about looking inward:
“Aligning your personal values with your financial goals creates a positive relationship with money. Your relationship with money is influenced by your ‘Money Blueprint’ which is a product of your childhood and life experiences with money. However, your money mindset is not fixed for life and can be changed. Financial Wellness can be achieved by identifying your core values and aligning your financial habits to reflect them.”
3. Set goals aligned with your why 🎯
Now that you know what matters to you, it is time to start setting goals that align with what you value. Know that these short, medium, or long-term goals are bound to change over time – allow yourself to step out of your comfort zone, while keeping your goals flexible without too much pressure.
For example, if you value adventure, your goal may look like having a sabbatical in two years.
Likewise, spending intentionally can be easier when you make everyday decisions based on your guiding principles.
Financial wellness isn’t a destination we arrive at instantaneously, but rather an ongoing practice. While it can be tempting to look at where others are going, your journey is yours – and yours alone!
4.Adopt healthy mindsets 🏆
Celebrate little wins
Every step counts. Whether it is making your first $100 investment or achieving a key property milestone, practice gratitude daily i.e. consistently. Just like your evening skin care routine, these little habits are imperative to achieving your big goals. Trust us, you’ll be much happier (and appreciative) that way.
You can have the best, most detailed plans on paper… but some factors are just outside of your control. Even if everything was within your control, you’re bound to make mistakes. Hey, no-one is perfect! Forgive yourself and focus on the key lessons you’ve learnt. Look at mistakes as opportunities to build resilience.
Keep the bigger picture in mind; come back to your why. Focus on what you’re going to do about it now.
Looking inward and gaining clarity on how you approach money is an ongoing journey. Little steps everyday are what will get you to where you want to be, and it’s only normal that challenges will present themselves along the way. Here at Autumn, we’re all about starting right here, right now – together. We’ve got this!
This article is a part of our #FeelGood with your money series – Autumn’s financial literacy movement.
To get started on your financial literacy journey, download the latest version of Autumn on the App Store or Google Play!