Ways to Practice Financial Self-Care

Times are changing. Not only are women generating and managing an increasing amount of wealth, they are also directing the economy itself—heading up major corporations and pivotal economic players.

As a first-generation wealth builder, I understand the drive to give back to my family and my community. It’s important that we remember and celebrate the people that makes us who we are.

With all of that, I've had to learn to practice a bit of self-care. Over the years, I have stumbled on what I consider another form of self-care, which seems to be rarely considered, yet I believe is one of the most vital…your financial health. Think about it... our finances, in many ways, are the single most important contributor to our physical health and well-being as women.

At face value, it might seem as though your finances have nothing to do with self-care, but your money does. Think about it, t’s 2020, and yet women are still taking on the brunt of domestic responsibilities, making their load uniquely burdensome compared to male relatives and partners. Often not counted in women’s domestic labours is their mental load—the effort required to arrange for childcare, plan meals, schedule doctor visits and school dropoffs, and all the other tasks required to keep a household running smoothly. Even at work, most women have to put in more hours and effort to make up for the fact that they’re consistently paid less than their male counterparts.

All this factors usually put financial strain on us as women.

Scheduling in time for self care, whether it’s working out or even just taking a slightly longer bath, isn’t a frivolous act for her. It’s a necessity. This includes your finances. Teaching yourself to care for your finances in a holistic way will increase your overall well-being and give you the freedom to accomplish the goals you’ve set for your life. When you begin to take charge and focus on all aspects of yourself, you set the foundation for a fulfilling, happy life.

So before you can financially support your tribe and that loving community you come from, you have to make sure you’re taking care of your own financial needs first. While women may not have been taught that finances are part of our self-care, there are many ways we can change that:

Make financial literacy your best friend.  This will help you build positive financial habits and navigate the many pitfalls and roadblocks that you’ll face throughout your financial life.  When you begin to focus on your finances, you allow yourself to build a level of resiliency that is hard to break.

Know what you spend on. What your spend your money on will tell you about what you value. I’ve always said that money expresses you, your values and your relationships. Make your finances a part of your routine. Know your numbers, have a plan and work the plan. If you show the same attention and self-care to your finances as you did in others, it could really make an impact on you overall well-being. 

Learn to Say ‘No’. We all know this one, but one of the easiest ways to let your financial life spiral out of control is by indulging in impulse spending and splurging on wants that add up to make it hard to pay for needs. Another big leech on financial well-being can be social spending. It might seem awkward at best (or rude at worst) to say no to an invitation to get dinner with friends or tag along on an impromptu weekend trip. But, if you think of yourself as an employee on your own personal payroll, it might be easier to keep things in perspective.

Get Organised. Financial self-care might not be possible if your finances — and all the documents, passwords and other numbers and forms related to them — aren’t in order. This can become especially important during emergencies. If there’s a crisis of any kind, the last thing you’ll probably want to do is sort through piles of unwieldy paperwork.

Ask for Help If You Need It. Financial self-care does not mean doing everything yourself. It’s OK to enlist professional help if you need it. In fact, in some cases, it’s probably the wisest decision.  Whether you need basic budgeting help or are looking for more advanced financial planning assistance, the good news is there are resources available.

Remember, taking the time to take care of your financial life now will help make sure your finances can take care of you in the future. And I am the first one to concede there are no easy solutions to this burden—which is why self-care, while certainly beneficial, isn’t enough to help women cope. Until bigger societal issues like the wage gap and lack of childcare support are addressed, until men step up to the plate and take on some of the burdens at home, there will continue to be women looking for relief in their allotted exercise time, their pre-bed rituals, their bathtimes.