The pandemic brought the world to a complete standstill in a way that few of us experienced before in living memory. Businesses closed and never opened again. Some people lost their jobs and had to depend on government assistance, while others went without access to financial resources. It forced people to take stock of their finances in a way they never had before.
Three years on and we are still feeling the financial impact of the pandemic. The stock markets are plummeting, we are still unclear about the full impact of the pandemic, and inflation is raising living costs significantly.
Why we need to address financial wellness urgently
More and more people are losing the luxury of being frivolous with money. In 2020, there were 37.2 million people in poverty in the U.S. alone. If this inflationary trend continues, more people will be unable to sustain their living expenses, and it is likely to have a significant impact on society’s physical health and mental wellness. It is for this reason that financial wellness needs to be taken seriously—now.
Being proactive and addressing financial wellness now allows us to put measures in place to counter the negative financial effects we are witnessing and experiencing. It can support those of us who have previously been passive about financial matters to take preventative actions to avoid undesirable financial outcomes.
My journey to financial wellness
My mother moved to London from Nigeria with me and my three siblings when I was six. She went from living an abundant lifestyle to struggling as a substitute teacher and single mother. We often went without food, and whenever she would earn money from her teaching jobs or government assistance, she tended to unconsciously compensate for the scarcity we experienced by splurging. So, I experienced extreme moments of lack and extreme moments of abundance.
This is a pattern I adopted as I got older. I had the drive to make a lot of money, and I did that with the motivation of making my family’s lives easier. Once I earned it—I would give it away.
Without realizing it then, subconsciously, I felt uncomfortable having a lot of money. At the age of 30, I grew my company to a $3 million turnover and soon after, I lost interest in it and simply walked away from it, to “find my purpose.”
In hindsight, I could have sold it or found a better way to transition out of it, but my subconscious pattern was at play, and I sabotaged myself and fell to financial rock bottom again.
Once I noticed what I was doing, I realized I had to intentionally manage my money differently. I decided to create a business that would generate resources with or without effort from me. I educated myself on investing so I could save money in a way that wasn’t accessible and where it could appreciate in value.
While I still have urges to spend or give away the money I make, through the strong awareness I have developed, I am able to put measures in place to plan and create financial stability and therefore wellness.
My commitment now is to help others identify their limiting patterns in relation to money and other areas of life, so they can also create abundant outcomes that give them the freedom they desire.
How financial wellness can be achieved
In my experience working with people from various life and career backgrounds, there are some key factors needed to achieve financial emotional wellness. They are:
- Building awareness of your financial patterns: Everyone has a specific relationship with money.
- Are you always just getting by?
- Are you making a lot of money and then losing a lot, so you must keep starting again?
- Do you never seem to have enough?
- Do you give it all away?
Whatever your pattern is with money, it is important to identify it and all the ways you end up with the same outcomes time and time again. I help my clients unearth these patterns through the work I do with Guidely, a transformational personal development platform. Once we are clear about the financial pattern, it is easier to craft an action plan to interrupt the pattern and then create a new financial relationship.
Creating a North Star goal – After discovering your pattern, the next step is to set yourself a North Star goal. What is the ideal financial outcome you desire in the future? It’s important to envision your ideal financial experience despite how unrealistic it may seem, compared to your existing circumstances. By taking this step you will start to explore creative ways to move towards a new financial reality.
Eliminating financial stress – Now it’s time to assess your incoming and outgoing expenses to gain visibility of where your money is going, which will make it easier to identify your areas of financial stress. It is important to prioritize taking immediate action to eliminate these areas of stress. It may be by paying off any outstanding debts or cancelling unnecessary subscriptions for example. When you are stressed, you tend to operate in survival mode, which thwarts creativity and can result in you becoming stuck in limbo. Once you have addressed the financial pressures, it is then easier to create an action plan to move towards your North Star goal.
Personal or supported financial education – To devise a plan that will work for you and transform your relationship with money in a sustainable way, it is important to educate yourself. By education, I mean both practical and mental education. Practical education relates to the concrete steps you can take on your financial journey, such as investing, saving, budgeting, etc. Mental education refers to your mindset about money and the subconscious patterns you have established over time. Identifying age-old patterns and changing the way you relate to money will ensure you don’t unconsciously sabotage any new structures you create for the future.