How to Achieve Financial Fitness: Fret Less & Save More
More and more employers are realizing the serious impact financial stress has on their employees – specifically the risk it poses to their employees’ health. We know financial stress is a factor that impacts our employees’ overall health, so we’ve partnered with the financial wellness program My Secure Advantage to educate our employees about the ins and outs of financial fitness.
We sat down with Mike Hackett, SVP of Education and Coach Development at My Secure Advantage, and asked him to share his best money coaching tips and tricks to help all of us tackle fiscal fitness. You can read part one of the series here.
BCBSNC: How do finances contribute to stress?
Mike Hackett: According to the American Psychological Association, finances are the number one cause of stress, and stress can lead to many health issues. Finances are stressful when you:
- Run out of money before you run out of days in the month
- Make late payments
- Get collection emails and phone calls constantly
- Argue with your spouse or partner about finances rather than review and create a plan together
- Can’t afford to get something for your children
- Procrastinate maintenance on your car or house because you are just waiting for something to go wrong
- Keep hearing about saving for retirement but you can’t imagine actually having extra money to save
Financial stress can be relentless. You have to stop being numb to the stress and develop a plan to address it. The majority of companies have benefits programs for their employees that offer financial coaching, so if it’s available to you, take advantage of it.
BCBSNC: Financial wellness is a hot topic. What does financial “health” actually look like?
Mike Hackett: Financial health can be simplified to three basic principles:
- Spend less than you earn – save the rest.
- Avoid debt.
- Develop and prioritize personal and financial goals.
Keeping those principles in mind, there are a number of ways you’ll be able to tell you’re living a financially healthy lifestyle. For instance: you don’t feel like you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you have enough savings to handle an emergency or unexpected expense, and you’re able to save funds for future goals like retirement.
It’s really important not to have a high interest rate debt or a high credit score, and you also want to be sure you have insurance to cover worst case scenarios.
Another thing I suggest to people is to simplify your “wants”. It may seem obvious, but the more simply you live your life, the less money you need to feel happy.