The global pandemic has brought financial wellness to the forefront for a lot of people, but what does that mean? How to spend? How to save? How to give? According to Beth Crittenden, a Corte Madera-based financial wellness coach (financialwellness.coach, 415.425.1615), fiscal wellness indicates that “you aware of what’s happening with your money, you are tolerating the uncertainties of life, and you are relatively at peace with all of it.” For someone who has never tackled their finances head on the task can seem relatively impossible, but Crittenden says there is always a first step and that can mean “admitting there is a problem and that changes need to be made. For other people, it’s putting together that first budget or using tracking software for the first time. Someone else may have been holding onto their money for dear life for years on end, and their first step toward financial wellness might be letting themselves spend — what feels like — frivolously, but actually is helping them let go of tight control,” she says.
Of course, a lot of this depends on a number of factors including how our parents handled money, how our partners or spouses handle money and how much money we are making and/or saving, but Crittenden has found that some of those differences are actually rooted in gender. “Many women I work with are conditioned to take care of everyone else first. They can tolerate a lot of self-deprivation, so sometimes it seems like financial wellness might be easier for them. Other women that I work with have trauma in their past. Relationships and career can be tough on our relationship with financial wellness, especially if we have trouble speaking up for ourselves and our value. Women have also sometimes been told we’re not as capable as men are with math, so that can be an early lesson to unlearn and build confidence around.” And confidence in the time of a crisis — like the global pandemic we have all been enduring — is sometimes hard to come by. The constant news cycle paired with shocking unemployment rates and businesses shuttering all around us can certainly be unnerving, but finding solace in times like this is crucial.
“Take the time and get refreshed about your personal values. Whether it’s just one person, or a family, before giving into any inertia or compulsions, take the time to go inside and get real about what’s important to you financially. The world economy is going to have unusual contractions and expansions for years to come. Maybe the best thing to focus on is how to recover from the grief and shock of how the world changed so suddenly. Not all of us behaved honorably or wisely with finances, and that’s understandable. Let’s call it the ‘Clean Up on Aisle 19’ project. Taking stock of the past few months and seeing whether you owe amends to yourself or others financially can be a great way to plant seeds for an even healthier financial future,” says Crittenden.