It's not just your mind, body & soul: for many of us, our overall state of well-being is very much connected to our financial affairs. (Book Excerpt).AT EVERY STAGE OF LIFE--FROM BIRTH TO DEATH--IT IS VITALLY important to have a balanced life for health and happiness. Most of us, including me, were not born into such an atmosphere and had no model for it. The most difficult challenge for all of us is creating and maintaining balance in our personal lives, in the midst Adv. 1. in the midst - the middle or central part or point; "in the midst of the forest"; "could he walk out in the midst of his piece?"
midmost of an ever-changing world. A healthy, balanced life is not easy to achieve, but I know that it's possible because I work on it everyday for myself and for my patients.
I am a gynecologist gynecologist /gy·ne·col·o·gist/ (-kol´ah-jist) a person skilled in gynecology.
A physician specializing in gynecology. , not a psychologist, priestess, or financial planner--but I've written this to include the components of mind, body, soul, and finances because my approach to health differs from that of the average American physician. My background in Haiti and my life experiences give me a holistic perspective on health that takes into account the physical, plus the mental, spiritual, and financial realms. As a holistic healer healer Mainstream medicine A romantic synonym for physician. See Traditional healing. , I believe that all of these components should be attended to individually, but also acknowledged as inextricably in·ex·tri·ca·ble
a. So intricate or entangled as to make escape impossible: an inextricable maze; an inextricable web of deceit.
b. intertwined. All four aspects must be kept equally in balance for a healthy life.
[Here,] I explain that our financial health is directly connected to our overall health. [My intention] is to debunk de·bunk
tr.v. de·bunked, de·bunk·ing, de·bunks
To expose or ridicule the falseness, sham, or exaggerated claims of: debunk a supposed miracle drug. the many misconceptions Misconceptions is an American sitcom television series for The WB Network for the 2005-2006 season that never aired. It features Jane Leeves, formerly of Frasier, and French Stewart, formerly of 3rd Rock From the Sun. about our relationship with money, not to teach you expert financial: planning--I'm not a financial planner Financial Planner
A qualified investment professional who assists individuals and corporations meet their long-term financial objectives by analyzing the client's status and setting a program to achieve these goals. . But [having had] considerable experiences with patients in my private practice, [as well as with] friends and relatives, I feel compelled to include the influence of money on our health. It is one of those four important "legs": mind, body, soul, and money. We must control our financial health in order for our "table" of optimum health not to wobble wobble /wob·ble/ (wob´'l) to move unsteadily or unsurely back and forth or from side to side. See under hypothesis.
Much of life revolves around money: earning money, learning how to spend money, saving, and giving. I have learned that how one feels about money has nothing to do with how much you have. And how much money we make has nothing to do with how much we save. America is one of the few countries where any: one who works hard and has the ability to save can become the millionaire next door.
Our relationship with money is twofold: earning it and spending it. Earnings are related to our educational capacity, as well as our lifestyle needs. When our earnings exceed our basic costs of living, we are able save.
Our environment also reflects our relationship with money. My paternal PATERNAL. That which belongs to the father or comes from him: as, paternal power, paternal relation, paternal estate, paternal line. Vide Line. grandmother raised me because my single mother was poor. Although grandma also struggled, she taught me invaluable lessons about frugality. She was adamant that "we do not eat the turkey today and the feathers tomorrow." We learned to live with each day's allotment. She taught us the difference between "needs and wants." Needs are things we must have to live decently, such as a secure home, food, and money for basic necessities. Everything else should be considered wants.
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. WonderGroup, an agency that conducts in-depth research for corporations, about two-thirds of children live in single-parent households or have two parents who work outside the home. To compensate for the lack of attention, parents buy more things for their children out of guilt. As a result, some children may learn to equate e·quate
v. e·quat·ed, e·quat·ing, e·quates
1. To make equal or equivalent.
2. To reduce to a standard or an average; equalize.
3. money with love. According to Teenage Research Unlimited, a market research firm, teenagers spend an average of $84 per week--$27 from their parents and $57 from a job or other source--shelling out a staggering $155 billion in the year 2000. Additionally, they rack up thousands of dollars in credit card debt Credit card debt is an example of unsecured consumer debt, accessed through ISO 7810 plastic credit cards.
Debt results when a client of a credit card company purchases an item or service through the card system. .
Parents who live beyond their means, amassing huge debt, often influence their children's relationships with money. Marvin Goldberg, a business professor at Pennsylvania State University Pennsylvania State University, main campus at University Park, State College; land-grant and state supported; coeducational; chartered 1855, opened 1859 as Farmers' High School. , found that when parents stated: "I'd rather spend time shopping than doing almost anything else," their children were likely to learn accordingly: "The more money you have, the happier you are."
THE HEALTH IMPACT OF FINANCIAL PROBLEMS
We know that stress can affect our mental and physical health. It is no surprise that financial problems cause people to neglect their health, and that the stress of financial problems may harm your health.
Researchers from Ontario York University York University, at North York, Ont., Canada; nondenominational; coeducational; founded 1959 as an affiliate of the Univ. of Toronto, became independent 1965. studied the negative impact of unstable income on health. Their results suggested that sharp income drops result in substantially higher mortality risk, even when such financial setbacks are only temporary.
What causes many Americans to end up in dire financial situations? I do not pretend to know the answer, but, in my humble opinion, it has to do with our relationship with money, as well as the ability [within] each of us to receive an education, get a job, and save money.
Everyone knows planning for the future is important. We plan what we will study in college. We plan appropriate exercise to achieve physical strength and endurance. We even plan to take that family vacation. Yet, many of us do not plan for our financial future. Would you believe people spend more time planning their annual vacation than they spend planning their financial future? And, when something does go wrong, even if it is a minor problem, we are caught unprepared and emotionally unable to handle the impact. We worry and our health suffers as a result of the additional stress. Deep down, we understand that we need to eat balanced meals and exercise regularly to maintain our health. Excellent health is the result of careful, day-to-day attention to nutrition and exercise. The same principle holds true for our financial health.
You owe it to yourself to talk to a financial expert. And remember what I said, your financial health is related to your overall health. Setting long-term financial goals, paying off debt, and beginning to save may ease overall stress in your life. Feeling that you are in control of your finances is truly empowering.
Building a health "financial house" can take a lifetime. For "financial fitness," I encourage you to develop a plan and obtain help with money management.
Six Steps to Financial Fitness
Here are some steps that have worked for me, and this "prescription" may work well for you, too. Each step is important, and all must be coordinated for you to succeed
Assess your current financial health. What is personal financial planning Financial planning
Evaluating the investing and financing options available to a firm. Planning includes attempting to make optimal decisions, projecting the consequences of these decisions for the firm in the form of a financial plan, and then comparing future performance against ? It is a process, not a product. It is an organized system of developing strategies for using your financial resources to achieve both short- and long-term goals Long-term goals
Financial goals expected to be accomplished in five years or longer. . Evaluating your current financial situation is the first step in developing any financial plan.
Know how much you spend. Sometimes we are unable to save because we are unaware of how much we spend. When I started working with a financial advisor, I filled out a Monthly Family Expense Budget. I was surprised to realize that my weekly tennis lessons were costing me $2,600 per year. I took the time to find a tennis partner, reduced my lessons to one per week, and saved $1,300.
Establish your financial goals. I advise you to establish financial goals for yourself, and, if applicable, your family. A financial goal is how you want your finances to look. Where do you want to be in five years? How about 10 years? Or 20? Having a clear goat and the willingness to work hard can make it happen. If you can imagine and plan it, you can achieve it. Setting specific goals also helps you to determine the amount of money you need to meet each goal. [Then] you can estimate a time frame within which each goal will be realized.
Learn saving skills. I often hear women say, "There is no extra money" or "We don't have enough money." These same people spend $50 or more a week on their families at the movie theater. Yes, we are entitled en·ti·tle
tr.v. en·ti·tled, en·ti·tling, en·ti·tles
1. To give a name or title to.
2. To furnish with a right or claim to something: to a night of enjoyment now and then. If this family went to the movies every other week, they could save $100 a month. You can set a good example for the children by proving that family outings do not have to cost an arm and a leg. Further, if you deposited a portion of the savings into college funds for your children, you just might teach them a few lessons in frugality. Resourceful re·source·ful
Able to act effectively or imaginatively, especially in difficult situations.
re·sourceful·ly adv. family planning family planning
Use of measures designed to regulate the number and spacing of children within a family, largely to curb population growth and ensure each family’s access to limited resources. can yield savings that ensure a more comfortable future, and a healthier lifestyle with less worry and stress.
Create a comprehensive savings plan. Once you create a financial plan, you will know what you need to do and when you need to do it. You will better understand the financial decisions you need to make and the impact of these decisions on your future financial freedom. Having a financial plan in place helps to eliminate excess stress and worry. There is no better time than now to work on financial balance in your life.
Creating a financial plan may sound difficult, but with clear goals you will be well on your way. Your savings plan should include three components:
* A savings account Savings Account
A deposit account intended for funds that are expected to stay in for the short term. A savings account offers lower returns than the market rates.
Notes: balance three to six times your monthly family expense budget.
* Personal savings and investments through an IRA Ira, in the Bible
Ira (ī`rə), in the Bible.
1 Chief officer of David.
3 Two of David's guard.
IRA. , Roth IRA Roth IRA
An individual retirement plan that bears many similarities to the Traditional IRA. Contributions are never deductible, and qualified distributions are tax-free. A qualified distribution is one that is taken at least five years after the taxpayer established his/her first , [etc.].
* Savings and investments through a retirement plan at work--401(k) or 403(b) plan if you are an employee, a defined-benefit plan Defined-Benefit Plan
An employer-sponsored retirement plan for which retirement benefits are based on a formula indicating the exact benefit that one can expect upon retiring. Investment risk and portfolio management are entirely under the control of the company. , or SEP 1. SEP - Someone Else's Problem.
2. (tool) SEP - A SASD tool from IDE. [simplified employee pension plan] if you are self-employed.
Get rid of your debts. According to a student loan agency, 78% of college students have credit cards with an average debt of $2,750.
Adults do not fare any better. Experts say 70% of working Americans have no money left after paying basic expenses and bills each month. According to the Federal Reserve Board, adults save too little and spend too much, amassing about $9,000 in consumer debt per household. In addition to owning a home, they want the works--clothing, cars, the latest gadgets, and luxury vacations, even though they cannot afford them.
As debt increases, so does your stress level. Under stress, your ability to handle a financial crisis is impacted and health problems can occur. These health problems can result in days lost from work, and affect job and income stability.
From the book Mind, Body, Soul & Money: Putting Your Life in Balance by Carolle Jean-Murat, M.D. who is a member of the advisory board for the GE Center for Financial Learning (www.financiallearning.com). [c] 2002 All rights reserved. Reprinted by arrangement with Mosely Publishing Group. (Log on to www.blackenterprise.com/books.html to order a copy.)