Holistic health and wellness is a hot topic these days as we have come to understand that lifestyle choices, nutrition, stress levels and exercise all contribute to our state of well-being. Did you know that your financial health is also part of your holistic health picture? Financial wellness is a measure of your knowledge and ability around managing money.

Low financial wellness can cause stress and have a negative effect on your physical, mental and emotional health. According to a 2015 study conducted by Environics Research Group, about 45% of Canadians surveyed had a low level of financial wellness. What this essentially means is that they don’t feel well prepared for emergencies, the unexpected or the future. People with a low level of financial wellness worry about covering bills, and feel stressed about paying for their children’s educations, their retirement years and replacing lost income, should they or their spouse die. This is one of the reasons, so the less financially able are still able to get the care they need later on in life.

Here’s how you can get yourself on the road to financial wellness.

  1. Increase your financial literacy
    Understanding your current and future financial needs, and everything you need to know about saving, investing, credit, insurance and retirement planning can help give your financial wellness a big boost. Take the time to read up on things like mutual funds, the real cost of credit and how much insurance coverage you need. Speak with a financial advisor and work to develop an estate plan. Start building your financial literacy one step at a time. Becoming more financially literate is one of the single best things you can do to achieve financial wellness.
  2. Create a budget
    Creating a budget, saving and using credit wisely can help make you feel in control of your spending and your finances, and give you peace of mind. If you know how much money is coming in and going out, and you have funds allocated for savings and big ticket purchases, you will feel less stressed about covering bills and the future.Your budget should include emergency fund savings, as well as money for your Retirement Savings Plan (RSP), your children’s education and insurance policy payments. Try the “pay yourself first” method and set up an automatic payment plan to redirect funds into a savings account to make the process seamless and keep you on track.
  3. Set personal and financial goals
    Take the time to think about where you want to be in 5, 10 and 20 years. You may want a house with a big yard, for example, or you may want to travel or buy a summer home. Whatever your goals are, you will feel a great sense of satisfaction and confidence as you work towards achieving them.

Furthermore, it is important to take time to plan where you intend on living during your retirement. For example, do you want to stay in your family home? Establishing your intentions now can help make planning for your financial future easier. Attaining a high level of financial wellness does not necessarily mean you become wealthy. It means you are confident about your financial life, including budgeting, retirement plans, investments, debts and insurance.

The peace of mind financial wellness will bring to your life will reap untold health benefits.

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