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Posts Tagged ‘Financial well-being’

The board game called LIFE was originally created in 1860 by Milton Bradley. The game simulates a person’s travels through their life, from early adulthood to retirement, with college if necessary, jobs, marriage/companionship, and possible children along the way.

As we all travel the journey of life, we all make decisions to fill our needs and wants. Filling our needs and wants requires MONEY, and each decision has costs associated with fulfillment. We call this the opportunity cost of a decision. Each time we make a decision to spend or save MONEY. We also make a decision to NOT spend or save for something else.

Americans live and work in a market economy that demonstrate the six characteristics in the image below:

  1. Private property
  2. Freedom of choice
  3. Motive of self-interest
  4. Competition
  5. System of markets and price
  6. Limited government
characteristics of a market economy infographic

Healthy Finances refer to a state of financial well-being.  A team of researchers assembled by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) suggests financial well-being can be defined as a state of being where you: 

  1. Have control over day-to-day, month-to-month finances 
  1. Have the capacity to absorb a financial shock 
  1. Are on track to meet your financial goals 
  1. Have the financial freedom to make the choices that allow you to enjoy life.

Now is a good time to identify what your emotions are around money.

Use a notebook or journal to write about three money decisions you made within the past four weeks.  Next, go back and reread what you wrote and circle the words that describe the emotions you experienced in the decision-making process.   

Whatever the emotions, make space for them and acknowledge what they’re telling you. Make time to learn from them and decide which ones to let go as you move forward on life’s journey.

Author: Margaret Jenkins, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Clermont County

Reviewer: Mackenzie Mahon, 4-H and Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Clermont County

References 

  1. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (2014). Financial Literacy Annual Report. http://www.consumerfinance.gov/reports/financial-literacy-annual-report-2014/
  1.  Melnyk, B.M. & Neale, S. (2021). 9 dimensions of wellness: Evidence-based tactics for optimizing your health and well-being. The Ohio State University. https://wellness.osu.edu/sites/default/files/documents/2021/05/9%20Dimensions%20of%20Wellness%20Digital.pdf

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Conversations about money might be uncomfortable for some people. When speaking with individuals about money I often hear comments like, “I don’t have enough money to budget” Or “it’s so overwhelming I don’t know where to start”. According to a FINRA Investor Education Foundation survey, 60% of those surveyed feel anxious when thinking of their finances and 50% felt stressed discussing their finances. If you are like many, you just want to know how to get started. One of my favorite sayings from Aristotle (and Mary Poppins) is “well begun is half done”.

Person with face in her hands near a computer

So here are three basic steps to get started.

 1. Reduce debt

 2. Increase savings

3. Make a plan

Let’s break it down.

First, know your debt. Make a list of each item you owe, the length of time until paid off, and the percentage rate. This information allows you to plan for debt reduction with the most success. The interest rate directly impacts the amount of tomorrow’s money you’re using today. Consider the types of debt you may have: credit card or revolving debt, installment debt like car payments, and student loan debt. Using an online tool like Powerpay will help you form a plan to reduce debt with the most effectiveness.

Second, begin to save or increase your savings. Establishing an emergency fund can help you avoid future credit card use by having funds available when emergencies happen. In addition, establishing a savings account can help you plan for future goals. The emergency fund is for the unexpected while the savings are for the expected. There are many ways to begin saving, choose what works best for you, and then stick to it. It could be automatic deposit from a paycheck into a savings account, saving change in a jar and taking it to the bank when full, setting aside extra funds from bonuses, overtime, or tax returns, or utilizing a savings app on the phone. Whichever you choose, resolve to start today!

Lastly, it’s time to make a plan, a spending plan that is! If you have never formed a budget (also known as a spending plan) now is a great time to start. A spending plan is an intentional look at the money you need each month to meet your obligations. Start with fixed expenses like mortgage or rent payment, loan payments, and utilities. Then, consider flexible expenses like food, entertainment, gifts, and clothing.  To get started you may choose to use a calendar or notebook to record all of your expenses and income. This allows you to track when, how much, and what you are purchasing. Using a tool like Eight Easy Exercises can help you shape your budget.

Well begun is half done. What can you begin today to improve your financial well-being tomorrow?

Written by: Melissa J. Rupp, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fulton County.

Reviewed by: Patrice Powers-Barker, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Lucas County.

References:

https://gflec.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Anxiety-and-Stress-Report-GFLEC-FINRA-FINAL.pdf?x85507America Saves (September 14, 2021)

https://americasaves.org/resource-center/insights/54-ways-to-save-money/ (September 14, 2021)

https://www.fdic.gov/resources/consumers/consumer-news/2021-02.html (September 14, 2021)

Photo by Pixabay

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