"There's no right or wrong time. Just start. Better now than later and better late than never."
I am so stressed! I don't have money to pay the rent. It's 2004 and I'm swamped with my coursework. For the second time in my life, I just pulled two all-nighters in a row. I'm tired. I'm working fewer hours at my job because of my course load. My roommate just moved out so I'm trying to pay for a two-bedroom apartment working part-time.
I'm at the end of my rope.
I don't have the money to pay my bills. I'm playing the "float game," where I write a check and hope it doesn't get cashed until payday. I rely on credit cards, so of course, I'm not saving. I would be completely out of luck if I lost my job or had to further reduce my hours. I'm ashamed to talk about my money situation, and even if I wasn't, there's nobody to talk to. I'm barely treading water, so thinking about what I wanted out of life is completely out of the question. Even if I could use my money to support my values, I don't have any idea what those are.
I'm just trying to survive.
A decade and a half later I would find out that I had no Money Health. I had the money-version of a disease or a disorder. I fixed my Money Health, but it took time. It took patience. I know this is a cliche, but if I can do it, so can you.
Health and Well-Being
Before we can talk about health and money, we should talk about what health and well-being mean.
When most of us think about health our automatic thought it to think about physical health. If we want or need help with some aspect of our physical health we go see a medical doctor. This could be for regular checkups, injuries, and illnesses. Physical health, among other things, means we are free some disease and illness, are physically fit, get enough sleep, and have a healthy diet.
The second realm of health is mental health. This area of wellness has historically been kind of a taboo subject. I do believe the stigma around mental health is (slowly) going away, though, and I think that will benefit all of us.
If we want or need help with some aspect of our mental health we go see a mental health professional, like a psychologist, marriage and family therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist. Together these professionals are sometimes called psychotherapists. If you have a disorder, you would go see a psychotherapist, of course, but they can do so much more for you than diagnose and treat a disorder. They help you sort through challenging times you are having, address emotional stress, help you untangle your thoughts, and more.
Having mental health means that we generally enjoy life, don't have disorders, feel safe, and can bounce back from life's difficulties.
Well-Being and Money
This brings us to wellness as it relates to money. Money is an interesting topic because money touches every area of our life. If we don't have financial wellness, it may impact other aspects of our health. For example, troubles with money can cause us to feel stress, lose sleep, feel depressed or anxious, get into fights, or make us feel unsafe.
Thinking about wellness and money can be confusing because there are a lot of terms floating around out there. You may hear it called financial well-being, financial wellness, or financial health. I call it Money Health.
Different Financial Wellness Ideas
You might be wondering what it means, regardless of what we call it. Thought-leader, and one of my mentors, Brad Klontz, says that financial health is having a balanced, comfortable, and conscious relationship with money that is both satisfying and not overly stressful. That's kind of a mouthful, so let's break that down.