If Talking About Money Gives You Anxiety — This Specialist Has Advice For You
When it comes to wellness, most people think of things like diet, exercise, sleep, and self-care. But there is one (major) piece of the puzzle that is often overlooked: financial well-being. Money is the top cause of stress among millennials in the U.S. And according to a 2022 study by Guardian, financial health has an even larger impact on well-being than emotional or physical health. But it doesn't have to…
Educating yourself, taking an active role in money management, and seeking out professional guidance from financial specialists such as the ones at Guardian can all help to create the calm and confident financial future you dream of.
We all have a relationship with money, and to help you make it a healthy one, we chatted with the founder of FinPowered, Victoria McGruder, CPA & CPWA—also known on Instagram as @finpoweredfemale.
The financial wellness learning curve
According to Victoria, financial well-being isn't about how much money you have but rather how secure, confident, and empowered you feel in your financial standing. "Financial wellness is all about putting yourself in a financially sound position enough so that you can improve the quality of your life and feel at peace about where you stand financially today and where you're going," she explained. One way to get started on your financial wellness journey is to look out for these commonly made mistakes:
Mistake #1: Attempting to support a lifestyle you can't afford.
Lesson: Live within your means. Victoria stressed how important it is to avoid overexerting lifestyle and spending. Prioritize finding a balance between living well today and financially preparing for the future. And if you have a partner, make sure to map this out together by exercising financial openness and communication.
Mistake #2: Keeping too much money in cash.
Lesson: Invest your money. As Victoria put it, you can't save your way to wealth. "Many people are intimidated by the investment world—or simply don't know enough about it—and end up missing out on financial opportunities and growth. Investing is one of the easiest, least time-consuming, and most effective ways to build wealth; it's just a matter of educating yourself or talking to a financial professional for guidance."
Mistake #3: Creating financial overwhelm.
Lesson: Exercise financial minimalism. "When people are overwhelmed, they run in the opposite direction and try to avoid their financial life," Victoria elaborated. Instead, keep things streamlined, automate where you can, and consolidate accounts and investments to be as lean and effective as possible. "Organization is an underrated and wildly important wealth hack."
A specialist's top tips
Victoria highly recommends working with a financial specialist to help you along your journey. Not only can they offer strategies that are tailored specifically to your situation, but they can also save you a lot of time by sharing what has worked well for others. "[They're] there to listen to your goals, your fears, your past money traumas, your wishes for your future, etc., and together you work through it all to create a game plan that fits your needs." It's like having a financial "therapist"—sign us up!
In the meantime, we asked Victoria to narrow in on a few actionable steps our community can take today to feel more financially calm and confident.
Tip #1: Cultivate a positive money mindset.
That means noticing how you talk to yourself about money. Try to catch your automatic negative thoughts or limiting beliefs, and instead, embrace the idea that there is plenty of opportunity out there for you. "Practice being grateful for the things you do have rather than focus on the things that you don't."
Tip #2: Prioritize financial awareness.
Before making a plan for the future, you have to understand where everything is now and learn how to optimize it. Victoria explained that optimization means considering things like whether you're paying the lowest interest rate possible on your debt, what areas you can scale back on if your expenses are too high, how you can earn more interest on your savings account, and which bills may have prices that you can try to negotiate down.
Tip #3: Seek out financial education.
"There are so many resources made available to individuals to navigate the world of money, and I strongly encourage you to take advantage of them," Victoria urged. Whether you turn to books, follow reputable financial professionals, or work with a trusted financial coach, by building your financial knowledge and empowering yourself to make informed financial decisions, your life will change for the better.
It's no surprise that money causes so much anxiety. We simply don't take the same steps to support financial well-being as we do with other health-promoting behaviors. But it's never too late—and Guardian is a great place to start learning. Everyone could use a little help in this area, and we can promise you, you'll feel better as soon as you take that first step. Remember, health is wealth!