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When we were first engaged we thought we going to do the ‘responsible' thing and talk about money.
We heard from other how money can put tremendous stress on others. So we decided we going to lay out all our cards and see where each other were with money.
It was an eye opener for sure.
Working on Our Financial Health
Our financial health was not so great. While I had already started investing for retirement and had some savings, I was carrying a pretty big load of debt.
My husband at the time had a small student loan, but he had nothing saved for retirement and no clear goals on what he wanted.
We knew then things had to change. We decided to work on our financial health together.
Our marriage was improved because we were partners, holding each other accountable and working as a team to get our finances together.
Fast forward to now and I'm proud to say we've paid off over $35,000 of debt, have an emergency fund, and we're thinking long term with our finances.
It's taken years to adjust our mindset and habits, but it's been worth it.
As we gotten better with money, we've become aware how financial health isn't isolated, but connected to so many things. We also realized how financial health can be a benefit for those around us.
We're All Connected
Right now it's estimated that 57% of Americans are struggling financially. That means there's a good chance that someone you know and care about is having some financial difficulty.
I'm not going to get into the myriad reasons how and why people have a hard time with money.
I know for our finances, we were dealing with the consequences of poor decisions and not having a clear goal of what we wanted to accomplish. (My credit card debt was certainly an example of lack of self-control and wanting instant gratification.)
But sometimes (too many times) it can also be bad circumstances, where someone is caught up in a wave and is struggling to just keep their head above the water.
These are occasions where loved ones could use a bit of help to pivot and get out of an otherwise sticky situation.
We had a loved one who had this happen to her.
A few years ago she was happily working at her job when cuts were made. She tried to find employment in her field, but couldn't.
After her savings were drained, she went ahead and took a more retail oriented job.
Even though it wasn't something she particularly cared for and she was overqualified for it, she took it because, like many, she believed in earning her keep.
While the job was helping with bills, it couldn't cover all of them including health insurance. She kept at it, looking when she could for another opportunity.
She kept working diligently, to the best of her abilities because she was taught that there is dignity in work, no matter the job description.
Finally, the job was taking a toll on her health. After some thought, she knew that her best option was switching careers.
Since she had a natural gift with languages that could useful for companies and better paying she began seeing what she needed to do to qualify for work.
The good news is she had the skill set and talent. There was just one catch – making this change would entail getting a certification.
Going back to school wouldn't be feasible financially. She researched and found a program that she could do, but it was still more money that her budget could handle.
Long story short, getting our financial act together was not only beneficial for us, but it was helpful and useful for our loved one.
Thoughts on Financial Health
How about you? Have you ever needed some help with finances? Have you been able to help others?
This post is part of a campaign sponsored by the Center for Financial Services Innovation(CFSI) called #FinHealthMatters.
For more information about CFSI and the#FinHealthMatters campaign, visit cfsinnovation.com/finhealthmatters.