Every Valentine’s Day, we’re surrounded by heart-shaped cards and candies, roses, candles, and everything red and pink imaginable. All of which serves as a reminder that our romantic relationships should be prioritized, and that all that “love in the air” is a very good thing. And it is. But love is hardly one-size-fits-all. You may be unpartnered this year and showing some love to your favorite baby cacti. You may be a dog mom who is treating your pup to a day at the park (complete with adorable coat + little booties). You may be sitting by your dad’s bedside, finally paying him back for all those years of love and care that he gave you. Whatever your situation, as you celebrate all the forms of love in your life this year, don’t forget your most important connection — the one you have with yourself. At HerMoney, we often talk about self care and the importance of daily rituals to heal and transform. But self care goes well beyond a weekly bubble bath (although that’s an excellent idea) or a day at the spa. Did you ever think about how investing in your financial future is an important form of self-care?
Taking time to create a money map for yourself is more than an exercise in economics — it’s a commitment to your freedom and independence, says James Maio, the head of tax at Slate Law Group. “By investing in your financial future, you are allowing yourself to control how you will live your life. It’s an act of self-love that will help you maximize the most precious and limited resource of all: time,” he adds.
Here’s a look at some of the reasons why this February is the perfect time to get your finances in order. Because you deserve it. (Just make sure you leave time in your schedule for a call with your BFF + something chocolate.)
Investing in your financial future improves your sense of self-worth.
You know that feeling when you’re walking down the street, jamming to your favorite song, heading to a meeting where you know all your hard work is about to pay off? That kind of confidence is contagious. Wouldn’t it be great if we could feel more of that, more often? When we understand how we’re doing financially, it can be a confidence booster like none other. According to Maio, having a thorough understanding of how you’re tracking toward your goals, where your budget stands, and how much money you have coming in and going out, offers an incredible boost to your self-esteem. When you commit to saving and investing, you know you’re not just dreaming about your “one day” goals (though daydreaming is always encouraged), you’re actually walking the path to get there, every day. “Knowing that you have been putting that money aside for your future self should give you a great sense of self-worth, satisfaction and security,” he says.
Investing in your financial future makes you self-reliant.
Financial confidence is where self-love meets self-reliance, says chartered financial analyst and the founder of UNest, Ksenia Yudina.
“Prioritizing your financial wellbeing is a fundamental component of a happy, healthy life. Ignore your financial future, and you expose yourself to stress and all the related issues that impact not just your wealth but your health, your relationships, your career, and your love life,” she explains.
READ MORE: The Best Self Care Gifts That Will Actually Help You Reach Your Goals
When you know you can support yourself, regardless of any other factors, you can spend more time visualizing your future rather than stressing over your present. It also allows you to think critically about your values and your goals that may be decades into the future. “Prioritize the really important areas of your life, such as your kid’s future needs or retirement and mix in some things that fall into the category of self-love such as a dream vacation or car,” Yudina recommends.
Investing in your financial future reduces stress.
While people don’t often share just how much their financial stress may be impacting their overall health, there’s no doubting how serious it can be, says Brittney Castro, Mint’s certified financial planner and the founder of Financially Wise. And with the pandemic, budgeting and financial planning is even more important than ever, as small financial issues can become huge problems in the face of lost income.
If you’ve been ignoring your savings account balances for too long — or if you have absolutely nothing saved — stop worrying about how you’ve fallen behind, and create a game plan that will get you where you want to be. Once you have a plan in hand that will help you battle your debt or improve your savings, you’ll be so much less anxious. “By embracing this type of mindset, you can reduce money stress now and in the future and form a positive, loving relationship with your finances,” Castro says.
READ MORE: I Have No Retirement Savings. Now What?
The first step? Have a weekly money date with yourself where you dial-in to your budget, check your accounts and acknowledge your progress. Then look to make moves to improve your spending habits or routine accordingly.
Investing in your financial future allows you to weather the unexpected — and feel secure about your retirement.
Did that out-of-network doctor’s bill throw your budget into chaos last year? What about that last-minute trip to visit a family member in poor health, or the leaky water heater that had to be replaced? Emergencies happen, and without financial security, we’ll never be able to stay above water. Maio says not taking the time to learn how to budget and invest is the opposite of self-care, since you’re setting yourself up for a potential disaster. And, you’re also not giving yourself the option to retire comfortably. Simply knowing that we’ll be able to step out of the workforce one day — and feel good about it! — is so powerful.
“Instead of working until the day you die, saving and investing for retirement gives you freedom in the future,” he continues. “Simply put, financial security and the freedom it brings means that you will only have to answer to yourself; you will be free to do whatever you want with your time. In my humble opinion, there is no better form of self-love or self-care than that.”
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