There’s an absolute correlation between financial wellness and physical and mental wellness; and it isn’t surprising. In life, when one variable starts to move in the right direction those changes can carry this special magnetic influence to be the catalyst affecting other tangential points. This could be set in motion by a personal relationship, a promotion in career, a healthy lifestyle change, or almost any goal you are chasing.
In fact, it’s Sir Isaac Newton’s First Law of Motion which states that an object in motion tends to stay in motion unless an external force acts upon it. Similarly, if the object is at rest, it will remain at rest unless an unbalanced force acts upon it; also known as the Law of Inertia. So, when you make one new conscious decision to start moving forward toward your goals (whether a nutrition & dietary choice, a decision to exercise, an economic choice like starting to contribute to a 401k or an increase your existing rate of contribution) it has absolute repercussions that successfully tip over and affect other areas in life.
The irony is, once one decision is made that receives positive reinforcement, like viewing your 401K statement increase in its value quarterly, it’s easy for it to become what’s called the habit loop encouraging or motivating you to keep that rate of contribution or possibly even increase it further. Once you start to see the value of your 401K or other investment accounts start to increase based on that decision, it will affect your self esteem. Your self esteem is how you value yourself – if the value of your assets are increasing, many people translate that into an increased feeling of self-worth. Then, the better that you feel, the more value that you place on yourself and the more healthy choices you’ll continue to make.
I highly recommend a delightful read by Charles Duhigg, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and author of The Power of Habit, on The New York Times bestseller list. Reading it can be a great start to foster growth and launch the habits you hope to see more of in both your personal and financial life.
THE POWER OF HABIT: 7 TIPS TO INCREASE FINANCIAL HEALTH & WELLNESS
Below are seven examples to consider that can be easily implemented into your daily routine to increase your overall financial health and wellness.
1. Start using your 401k or other retirement plan to maximize your tax-deductible contributions, or, exercise the Roth 401k (many employers now offer) and put away after-tax dollars.
2. If you’re already using a retirement plan, increase your participation. The maximum contribution you’re eligible for in 2021 has increased to $19,500, and if you’re age 50 or older you’re eligible for a catch-up provision of $6,500 annually. That’s a total of $26,000 contributed in the year! By the way, if your employer contributes a hypothetical 5% to your plan, don’t contribute only to achieve the match… go for your maximum. The free money is great, but remember you’re putting money away to be able to retire not just to achieve a minimum match.
3. Increase the principal payment to your mortgage monthly. You may not even notice the small difference when deducted from your checking account, but the life of your loan will diminish and you’ll achieve your payoff much faster.
4. If you have children and want to help them with future college expenses, launch and fund a College Savings 529 Plan (it allows opportunity to achieve tax-free growth for college and other higher education expenses).
5. Review the interest you earn in your checking and savings accounts. If the yield is shockingly low and you have significant balances in cash, consider short-term bond alternatives and/or money market funds that may generate more income (if, of course you’re willing to accept more risk).
6. If you have credit card or other revolving debt, pay it off. Even people that have significant assets can at times surprise me with debt on credit cards. Check the interest rate, whatever it is—you’re probably rewarding your bottom line by paying it off.
7. Identify your financial goals, and if they’re genuine, make your actions reflect that which you hope to achieve.
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Wealth & Investment Advisor
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