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A financial wellness guide for everyone who hates budgeting.

A Financial Wellness Guide For Everyone That Hates Budgeting
17 November 2022 Read time: 4 min

 

Financial ‘wellness’ might just be the word of the decade. But what does wellness mean to you? To us integrated finance-y folk, financial wellness encompasses: 

  • Control over day-to-day finances in your business or household environment
  • Ability to absorb financial shocks
  • Being on track to meet financial goals
  • Freedom to make choices that help you enjoy life

So, this just in: financial wellness isn’t just about sticking to a budget or planning for retirement. It’s also about managing your thoughts and emotions around money. From the bigger picture stuff, to your everyday and standing expenses, how are you feeling about your finances at the moment?

You might feel confident, cautious or anxious. If you have been feeling the pinch around inflation and rising interest rates (what a combo!), you’re not alone. In fact, the Australian Psychology Society says financial issues are the leading cause of stress amongst Australians; higher, even, than worries about physical health. 

Improving your financial wellbeing doesn’t just mean tightening your belt though. So here are some tips that might help improve your feeling of financial wellness.

 

Are you paying ‘lazy tax’?

 

While we couldn’t completely avoid the ‘b’ word, budgeting doesn’t have to be daunting or restrictive. Set a date in your diary to deep-dive into your day to day finances and recalibrate your budget if needed, every 6 months. Treat this like any other part of life-admin. 

You like tech? Use an app. Are spreadsheets your thing? It’s your time to shine!

However you record your budget, check your fixed expenses at each 6 month review. You could be paying a ‘lazy tax’ by not shopping around. For example, could you find a cheaper energy provider? Have you compared health funds lately? Are you paying fees on your credit card, or bank accounts where there are suitable fee-free alternatives? Are you paying for apps or subscriptions you no longer use ? Have you reviewed your interest rates recently? 

Your business is valuable, and your service providers will likely try to retain it by being competitive. 

This is a great first step toward better budget habits… see, none of that involved choosing generic over brand name or opting for eating-in versus dining-out. Voila, your budget just became proactive and dynamic!

 

Set aside emergency money.

 

The old adage has never rung so true: life is full of surprises… like the whiplash of a pandemic and now, rising inflation and monthly interest rate hikes. 

Regular, small contributions to a ‘rainy day’ fund will help you absorb financial shocks. This habit can also improve your emotional relationship with money. Knowing you’ve got a bit of a buffer should you need it will help you feel more secure in your  overall financial position.

 

Embrace financial technology.

 

For better or worse, convenience lies at the heart of our consumer behaviour, going toe-to-toe with price-point. In fact, 1.4 million Australian households shop online everyday. 

While some fintech innovations (like buy-now-pay-later services) should be used with caution, others are fantastic for savvy spenders. 

Services like ShopBack will give you a percentage of cashback at many Australian retailers. You can become a member and just toggle ‘on’ the cashback on your browser. Or, if you’re a regular at your favourite shop, check out their loyalty rewards. 

There are also round-up savings apps that automatically round purchases to the nearest dollar (for example). Then, they contribute these nominal amounts to your savings fund. 

These are just examples, so do your own research and let us know what you find! These technologies won’t move the dial on your net position, but they might enhance financial wellness by helping you feel empowered about your spending choices.

 

Define your goals.

 

What is your broader intention around money? How does the future look for you? Do you like what you see? Consider what you’ve got going on and what’s changing – you might have become married (or divorced #realtalk), made big career moves, looking to buy or sell a business, invest in property or even come into an inheritance.

Take some time to really think about your circumstances and what you want from your life. And no, we’re not talking about the far off distant prospect of retirement. We’re talking about your present, day-to-day wants AND long-term aspirations. You want a beer fund? Great. Prefer to save your pennies for a Porsche? You do you. Want to make a green change, sea change, quit your job and save the Great Barrier Reef change? Go you good thing. Now let’s get focused.

 

Set a financial plan.

 

It’s great to draw the bigger picture, but we know that goals can feel intangible or lofty. How do we reach them? Let’s reframe ‘goals’ into a ‘financial plan’. Plans are practical and actionable, with steps to follow. Tagging up with a Financial Adviser can help bring those goals into focus.

Our Financial Advisers have the training, technology and modelling tools to help bring your vision of life into reality. They’ll go granular, to help you see what great effect little tweaks make over the long run. Our Financial Advisers also get you to zoom out and think about longer-term decisions like family, housing, work aspirations, travel, and so on.

Once you’ve clarified your goals and objectives, our Advisers work with you to design a roadmap that puts you in control of your future. Because that’s what financial planning is all about; taking steps now that lay the foundations for a healthy and happy tomorrow. And knowing you’re on the right track? This gives everyone a buzz and boosts your financial wellbeing as well.

 

So, what will you do to improve your financial wellness?

 

If you read this and felt pretty in tune with your finances with the freedom to spend, bravo! If you feel overwhelmed, just start. Set your budget date. Download a roundup app. Have a think about your lifestyle goals. Maybe hop online and have a look at what financial advisers have to offer. 

The end game is to feel empowered and proactive, and small improvements can make a big impact on your future (and they don’t have to mean budget cuts and sacrifices). Of course, if this article inspired you to seek professional financial advice, we’d love to help.

Anyone in your circle need a pep talk? Share this article with them.

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