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Financial Wellness Routine

by Laura Scheer, AFC, CEBS and Karen Wilhelms, CFP – Concordia Plans Financial Educators
WCF- financial-wellness

Many times, we set goals to spend less, save more and reduce debt only to find ourselves slipping back into old habits. Establishing healthy routines with our finances can help us stay on track with these goals. But where do we start? Why do so many of us have to keep starting over? In a recent webinar presentation offered by Concordia Plans, “Financial Resolutions and Goals”, financial educators Laura Scheer and Karen Wilhelms discussed this very phenomenon and how to overcome the challenges of improving our financial fitness. So often we focus solely on the goal, but don’t have a plan to update the systemic steps it will take to reach that goal. 

 

To get started:

  • Know your WHY.
  • Be SPECIFIC.
  • Frame it POSITIVELY.
    • Instead of “Stop wasting money” → “Stick to my plan.”
    • Instead of “Don’t use a credit card” → “Use cash.”
  • Stack your habits.
  • Track your progress.
  • Identify barriers.
  • Incorporate your identity.
    • “I am a saver.”
    • “I am a good steward of my finances.”
  • Break it up; SMALL steps when added up, lead to BIG results.

 

Our Financial Educators recommend these steps:

  • Review financial statements regularly. This includes bank, credit card, loans, etc. and helps to ensure accuracy and be aware of any significant changes.
  • Tracking monthly expenses. Doing this one thing can help you assess where expenses can be cut and savings can fit in, especially if you can pay off consumer debt faster.
    • Automate savings. Set up automatic transfers to your designated savings account. This includes saving for retirement, building your emergency fund, or a general savings goal that you might have – like a new car or a family vacation. 
  • Create a spending plan. Every financial wellness list is going to mention a budget – because it’s so important! Check out our Financial Wellness app BeFine, created for members in the Concordia Retirement Plan.
    • Our Financial Wellness team will be offering a Webinar on Sept. 15 discussing the BeFine app. Register here: 10 a.m. | 4 p.m. 
  • Maintain an emergency fund: As the saying goes: Expect the unexpected. Having an emergency fund will help prevent you from needing to turn to credit cards, high interest debt, or even derailing your retirement savings.  

Other helpful tips:

  • Review financial goals. Write down your financial goals and check in on them periodically. How are you progressing toward that goal? What changes can/should you make to reach that goal? Is that goal still important to you, or is it time to set a new financial goal? 
  • Use an accountability partner. Studies* show that goals are more likely to be reached when your goal and progress is shared with others.  If you don’t have an accountability partner, we’re here for you! Free financial coaching is available for plan members. Reach out to us at MoneyMatters@ConcordiaPlans.org
  • Give yourself GRACE.

 

Financial Webinars on this and many more topics →

 

*Source: https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2019-45131-001 Journal of Applied Psychology, 105(4), 372–389