Staying financially healthy
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You may already be financially healthy, but you can possibly use some hints on moving forward in good physical and financial health.
Bermuda is still enduring but moving forward through this Covid trial of isolation, grieving and survival – mentally, physically, physically and spiritually.
Moneywise expresses thoughts and prayers for all who have lost employment, struggling to stay financially afloat, and those who have left us sadly and suddenly.
Dear readers, you are not alone in experiencing this sudden reversal of normal everyday workplace routines, family engagement and community interaction.
Economic downturns do and have happened in the course of history, but the Covid accompaniment has been a severe double whammy to businesses and personal psyches. It is also a given that with every recession, individuals, businesses and governments have had to cope with financial strategies to keep themselves and their communities solvent.
Today we focus on some financial situations, people predicaments and outcomes from many years of professional practice that have had some detrimental and more often than not, hopeful outcomes – actual circumstances highly anonymised.
What I have found, almost universally over the years is that people that I worked with came with money problems, but the core of the problem tended to be more related to insecure identity, personal confidence and value issues along with inability to negotiate partner relationships. These issues occur in ordinary times and are highly exacerbated in tough economic times.
So what does it mean to be “financially healthy”?
Succinctly, individual identity attributes are in harmony with one’s relationships in work, family, relatives, partners, community and your money.
In other words, individuals needed to understand that “you have to take care of yourself first”. Bringing your relationship to money into equilibrium is key to equalising harmony in your life.
There are five Individual identity financial health components: valuing yourself, becoming a brand, setting goals, embracing change and focusing on the big picture.
1. Valuing yourself: how can you value what money can do for you if you don’t value yourself? You are who you think you are – if you are confident, you have more value than the money you accumulate.
If you are in doubt of your self worth and value to others, that insecurity may be reflected in your purchases. Getting “things” props you up – “because you deserve it”. Yes, you feel just great, almost euphoric for a while, then the old insecurities come right back.
Family money patterns incurred growing up can be a great contributor to the perception of how money will influence an adult.
However these patterns evolve, they have a significant longevity effect as well.
Children whose parents managed money carefully, will tend to trend conservatively as well. Conversely, undisciplined money patterns may be repeated by the next generation.
Deprivation as a child begets overcompensation as an adult, while providing a child with everything, prepares that adult child to overspending expectations that when unfulfilled are provided with increased credit card use.
Parents who never discuss money may leave a child ill-prepared to plan financially, or the family may focus entirely on keeping up “with the Jones”, conveying another message of social inadequacy.
Overcoming inappropriate money patterns can create stress and insecurity in an adult child who then will try to focus on changing poor money habits. These changes are not easy, demanding willpower, commitment and willingness to change. We do have to bear in mind that parents are human too, reflecting their own childhood-learnt money habits.
The challenge for you in valuing yourself is to overcome the negativity of money by keeping in mind that it is a means to end – not the acquisition of.
2. Becoming a brand: you don’t have to be famous! You have to be the one that thinks how to solve a problem, is always reliable and innovative, and can get things done.
Two good ways are participating in every in a commitment to lifelong learning to upscale skills. Free courses abound on the internet – whatever your interest and job performance requirements.
And, willingness to persistent and consistently good performance in a work position. Say you’ll do a project, put your best efforts forward, unite your team, and deliver on time every time – then make sure your direct higher report is aware of your efforts.
Narrative. One banking career individual was incredibly reliable. This was her brand. No matter the task or the time deadline. Her answer always was – with a smile. I can take care of that! Then, she figured out how to carry out completion of the task.
Continuing education and financial literacy skills are utmost in media, company and government-planning minds these days.
The US may be considering financial literacy education mandatory as comprehension has been slipping significantly for more than a decade.
While a January McKinsey executive summary, Reskilling China: Transforming the World’s Largest Workforce into Lifelong Learners, states:
“China has the largest workforce in the world, and the economy in which citizens live and work is in the throes of dynamic change. China is modernising and digitising and is now turning its attention to how to ensure that workers have the skills they need for the next phase of the country’s economic journey.” ( https://tinyurl.com/y5c3blxg )
3. How: setting a goal or goals and accomplishing them, one at a time, gives you impetus, enhances confidence, whether you succeed or fail, you are constantly learning to surmount the next challenge.
Want a home, flood your current abode with pictures everywhere of the dream home. Then, plan to save, increase income any way you can to get it.
Want a promotion. Read on:
“Her little black book. I first saw it years ago, well thumbed, and carried everywhere.
’What’s in that book? It is my goal book. Every year I set a career goal, I work towards it and at end of the year, I review progress. If I didn’t make the goal, it is listed again for the next year.’
“Did I mention that in the time that I knew her, she had advanced steadily upward through the organisation.”
See part two of this feature on January 30.
Behavioural Finance, Childhood Money Habits: 8 Common Ways Your Parents Shaped Your Fiscal Behaviour, https://tinyurl.com/y2rog7j5
The Push to Require Financial Literacy, by Caleb Silver, January 15, 2021, https://tinyurl.com/y6zln37m
• Martha Harris Myron, CPA JSM, a native Bermudian, is an author, international financial consultant to the Olderhood Group Bermuda, and financial columnist to The Royal Gazette, Bermuda. All Proceeds from these articles are donated to the Salvation Army, Bermuda