You are probably wondering what Financial Health is. Financial health is a process and a destination. It is a holistic concept that recognizes that finances are part of our life journey.
Inevitably, there is a prevalence of financial issues in our daily life. And, for many years, the emphasis on learning about family finances has been on the numerical part of finances. We learn about affordability ratios, debt ratios, cash flows, budgets, savings, rates of returns, assets, income, time value of money, etc. AND… we need to know all of these concepts. But, another important component of financial health is the internal finances, which are the emotional and relational aspects of money; the meanings we ascribe to money (a neutral tool); the feelings that money evokes on us (security, status); the emotions behind our spending and our financial decisions; the recognition of money biases, money scripts and other cognitive distortions that explain our consumer behavior.
When people have better understanding of their money habitudes, money biases, and the emotional triggers that foster shopping and overspending, they will be more in control of their finances. They will be able to recognize, without internalizing, their money weaknesses. The good news is that they can turn those weaknesses into strengths through learning and experiential growth. It is not enough to say, "I have financial goals", there needs to be engagement and ownership of those goals, so they become relevant and meaningful in our lives.
I invite you to be better informed about your finances, and to foster dialogue about finances with significant others. If you are single, it is an opportunity to engage in self-reflection concerning your financial habits. In doing this, individuals and families will become more resourceful in dealing with a crisis, weathering persistent economic stress, and meeting future financial challenges.
Money Facts and Hints that Can Help your Family. Did you know that …
- According to the Journal of Experimental Psychology, "cash discourages spending, and credit or gift cards encourage it…"
- Pre-committing to a decision makes you more likely to execute it! Can't save money now, but can three months from now? Set an automatic savings plan in the future and pre-commit now!
- Focusing on one debt at a time might help stop the overwhelming feeling of debt anxiety.
- Increasing your credit card limit does NOT mean you're managing your money well.
- $1.50 invested from age 18 to 67 = $290,343 (assuming an 8% average annual return); or if you could put away $150 a month from age 20 to age 65 you could have almost $1.5 million by the time you retire.
- You can open a savings account for your child as soon as you have their social security number.
- The perfect time to teach children about the value of money is around the age of 7-8
- When compared with friends and school, parents are by far the main resource for children to learn about money.
Lucy M. Delgadillo, Ph.D., CMC, is an Associate Professor and Certified Master Coach, in the Family, Consumer and Human Development Department, Utah State University. She holds two bachelor degrees, one in Journalism, and one in Broadcasting and Sociology from Murray State University, a Master of Science in Political Sciences and a Ph.D. in Family Life from Utah State University. She has published more than 100 articles in refereed journals and conference proceedings, several book chapters, and has made over 70 presentations at international, national and regional conferences.