Everyone’s level of financial self care is different, what’s yours?

We often know what to do to look after ourselves; sleep well, eat well, connect with others. It’s the same with money. However, we don’t always self care with money. It’s really about making yourself feel safe and aware of your financial situation. I read a survey from Pennsylvania University which stated that even a small amount of money put aside in a rainy day savings account or an account for emergencies, increases your financial well-being tenfold. Doing so has a larger impact on your well-being than what it would feel to recover from a situation where you had to show resilience. Instances such as getting a new job or pay increase does not affect your financial wellbeing as much as knowing you a secure with money set aside in case of emergency.
So I started looking into what creates financial well-being and what amount to put aside to make your feel safe. There’s an element of fear around not being able to support ourselves should an emergency happen. I asked my team about their emergency funds. Now most of my team are in relationships, so I was thinking they would only need a small amount of money put aside because you’ve got someone to lean on. However, it was brought up that what if the person that you’re in a relationship is in with is the emergency? What if all of a sudden, they become abusive or they were in an accident. One of my team’s numbers is $10,000 and I thought that’s so much money! I wouldn’t need that much money for my emergency, because should something really big happen I’ve got assets I can sell or I’ve got family that might be able to step in and help me out in the short term. Another team member said $1000. Similar reason to me is that they’ve got a partner and family for support. Her rationale for $10,000 emergency fund is really interesting though. It is because she felt that if she had to pick up her bags and start all over again, or lose her income for months at a time, then getting into a rental, making sure that she’s able to furnish it herself and look after herself for they period of time, that’s the reason why she wants that much money in her emergency account. The main thing that people were thinking of was an emergency that affected you for only a couple of days or a week, but that we’ve still got an ongoing income. We’ve got other things that are happening in our lives that mean we’re getting support elsewhere if something was to occur.

Everyone’s level of financial well-being is different. So how do you get that feeling of financial security? Having approximately $2000 in your everyday spending account is plenty of money, but it’s not there for very long because we’ve got to spend it on bills and rent or mortgage or all living and entertainment expenses. How do we get the money for emergencies, how do we keep it and how do we make sure that it’s actually adding to our feeling of financial well-being? My thoughts are for you to have to actually see the money as a reminder that you are safe. For those of us that invest in shares or exchange traded funds, I don’t know about you, but I’m not looking at mine every day, I’ve automated most of that investing. So how do we make sure it’s popping up for us to give us that sense of security and safety? My favourite place is to put it into short term micro investment apps. I love them. I watch it grow and it’s not in cash where I can easily spend it on living, but it’s not tucked away somewhere that’s going to take a week to get out if needed. You might find you feel more secure by having cash in your house. It is a legitimate way of holding money. Others are putting it into big savings accounts, separate from your everyday spending, where there’s high interest earned. Hold a little bit of money somewhere, start with $50. Start with $100. It doesn’t need to be much. Let’s do it because one of the first steps in really getting control of your money is to feel really good about it.

The next step to financial well-being is to make the connection between doing the things that bring you joy and the money that you’ve used to do it. So putting in a little bit of gratitude every day. Being grateful you have a job that earns you money. Having the ability to buy yourself flowers. You’ve got the ability to switch your lights on and talk on your phone because you’ve had the money to be able to pay for these everyday things. Think of something that you can do to bring you joy around money and then just take a moment to be thankful for it because it’s the thank you that’s increasing the well-being not the actual act. Make sure you’re recognising and mindful about the things that bring you joy, that money has brought to you.

What small amount of money do you need to squirrel away to make sure that you’re okay? And what are some of the things that you’re really grateful around money and that have made a real difference to you around money? Self care is after all, an act of absolute service to yourself and sometimes to receive we just need to give ourselves a little bit to remind ourselves that we’re worthy of receiving the money and to remind us that we’re in a good spot, financially and otherwise.

Contact Phoebe

Phoebe is available for interviews, guest appearances, article commentary, and talks on a range of topics relating to property, mortgage broking, and personal finance (particularly for women!).