February is love month! I know, I know, Valentine’s Day has passed, but I like to hope we all take special care to spread love for the whole month. That said, let’s bring it back to finances (she said gleefully!). 

In an ideal world, your income would support your well-being instead of just your survival. This may seem like a pipe dream for some, but I’m here to share some tips for harnessing the full potential of your finances so you can glean some joy from that hard-earned paycheck—after paying your bills, of course! 

Financial Stress vs. Financial Well-Being

Financial stress can be brought on by many things—losing your job, unexpected car repairs, dealing with debt, trying to keep up with inflation, and more. Anything that causes anxiety around not having enough money counts. 

The 2022 Financial Stress Index found that 38% of Canadians see money as their top concern above personal health (21%), work (19%), and relationships (18%). Wow.

The other side of the coin is financial well-being. This is when you’re able to meet your financial goals and commitments, prepare for financial emergencies, and use your money to enjoy life. There’s a strong link between financial well-being and habits. In fact, solid habits are more important than more money when it comes to financial well-being. 

Let’s talk about how to get from financial stress → financial well-being. 

Plan Wisely

Most people don’t create long-term financial plans, and even fewer keep them updated. I’m not here to shame you, but I am here to rouse you into action! Flying blind with your finances is not going to serve you in the long-term or short-term. Understanding your goals, income, and expenses will likely leave you a little wiggle room for upgrading your lifestyle—whatever that looks like for you. 

Try the 50/30/20 method! 50% to needs (rent/mortgage, bills, food, etc.), 30% to wants, and 20% to your savings. 30% of your monthly income is a pretty solid chunk when you think about it! If you stay dedicated to this method, that 30% could go to fun nights out, an upgraded TV, lavish dinners, or whatever your heart desires.

Inspect your insurance policies yearly. I’m talking car insurance, rental or home insurance, health insurance, critical illness insurance, life insurance, disability insurance. Whatever the policy, make sure it’s up-to-date and optimal for you. 

Make a debt repayment plan. Debt repayment was the #1 financial concern for Canadians in 2022, and with good reason. Debts can bring on all kinds of financial stress, so getting them repaid on a strict, manageable schedule is worth prioritizing. 

Save Wisely

Part of financial well-being is knowing you can handle whatever life throws at you and making your dreams a reality. Both of these can be achieved with smart saving. 

Write an emergency fund into your savings plan. We can’t predict the future. All we can do is lay the groundwork to manage it as well as possible. Dedicate a portion of your savings each month to an Emergency Fund account. That way, the next time your car needs a new tire, or you chip a tooth, or whatever life throws at you, you’re ready to handle it. 

Save for retirement. And, if you’re young, start saving EARLY! This long-term labour of love is a testament to how you want your later years to play out. Give yourself the gift of a comfortable retirement, and sleep easy through the years knowing you’re taking care of your future self. 

Spend Wisely

Spending your money wisely still includes spending it on things that bring you joy! Conscious decisions to support your own well-being can be so meaningful. 

Buy time. I’m talking about getting a little help from a house cleaner or a gardener, or ordering takeout or grocery delivery. Research shows that people can gain more satisfaction from spending their money on time-saving services than on material goods. 

Create opportunities for connection. Reunite with old friends, go out for dinner, throw a party, tour a vineyard! All of these cost at least a little money, but you’re more likely to leave feeling fulfilled than if you’re leaving the mall with arms full of shopping bags. 

Spend money on those you love. Research has found that people felt far more joy when they spent money on those close to them. So, if you’re going to put your money into material things, consider picking something up for your loved ones too. 

Buy experiences. TONS of psychological research has shown that spending your money on experiences is far better for your happiness than material goods. Use that dedicated fund you’ve stashed away to take that road trip, try that hike, fly away to Costa Rica. Even the anticipation of the experience and the memories you make contribute to longer-lasting satisfaction.

Give your money away. This is a great option for pretty obvious reasons. Helping others is a great way to feel good about yourself. 

Whether you decide to tackle planning, saving, or spending first, your income has the potential to support an upgraded quality of life in so many ways. Self-love can look like intentionality in your life, so why not start with your finances? 

And, if you’re diving into the realm of your business’s finances but need help getting started, reach out to me! I’ll help you harness your finances for your well-being in a very specific way—getting you paid FIRST