*The following is an article that I wrote in partnership with Digital Federal Credit Union, DCU*
“Self-care” is a hot buzzword right now. With everything going on in the world around us, prioritizing our mental and emotional health is important. But if the last few months have taught us anything, it’s that financial health is equally as important as the other things we typically associate with self-care.
Having good financial health isn’t about how much you earn or how little debt you have but rather it’s the overall state of your financial life, the systems and habits you use to manage your money along with the resulting confidence and opportunities that allow you to be financially solvent.
Most importantly, when we get self-care right, we have more to give and can have a bigger impact on our immediate family and communities. This couldn’t be truer when it comes to money management and financial wellness. If we are financially aware, confident and secure, we can help encourage positive modeling behavior and if necessary, financially help those in need.
My mom was good at managing the little bit of money she had while I was growing up. She made it a point to make sure that I was aware of the importance of saving. One of my earliest money memories was her taking me to the local bank to open up my first savings account. She may not have taught me how to budget or invest, but she showed me the importance of putting something away for a rainy day. I began to model this savings habit when I got my first job at 14 years old. I always tried to put something aside, from my paychecks, even if it was just a couple dollars. This savings habit came in really handy when I got my first paid internship in college. I was able to save a majority of my paychecks while I interned for four years and used it as a down payment for my first real estate purchase after graduation. Whether my mom knew it or not, by putting her financial health as a priority, she instilled good money habits that ultimately put me in a better position financially.
Making financial education a priority and implementing financial systems that work for our lives is important. It’s key that we find banking institutions that support these initiatives. Credit unions, like DCU – Digital Federal Credit Union are committed to furthering the financial education of their members through online educational programs and initiatives that teach their members key financial topics like: budgeting, saving for the unexpected, building credit and much more.
Implementing financial self–care doesn’t have to be a grand move or gesture. It’s not about how much you can save or how fast you can pay off debt. It’s about making the choice to just start and stay committed. For example, educating yourself on a financial terms or taking the time to learn about financial products at your local credit union can go a long way in helping you reach your goals. DCU offers their members the ability to activate the Earn More feature on their checking account where they can enjoy the benefit of earning an Annual Percentage Yield (APY)on eligible balances that’s higher than many savings accounts.
Sometimes financial self-care looks like telling someone no if they ask for money that you can’t afford to give. If giving them that money jeopardizes your own financial well-being, it’s ok to establish boundaries and say no.
The benefit of self-care and taking care of yourself first ensures that you are not pouring from an empty cup. This couldn’t be more true with your finances. Your ability to; pay off debt, save and invest towards your goals directly impacts the ability of those around you to succeed and build wealth. If we make financial self-care intentional and a priority, we can have a significant impact on those around us.
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