This is an entry in the #FinHealthMatters contest sponsored by Center for Financial Services Innovation and FinCon. This will be my first year attending and the prize would help tremendously. One of the winners will be selected by top engagement on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #FinHealthMatters. I’d appreciate your support by sharing this post with the hashtag on Twitter!
The term ‘Financial health’ has a unique meaning to someone who has overcome homelessness, identity theft, and living paycheck to paycheck. To me, it means a renewed mindset that proclaims: Poor is not permanent!
I grew up as a privileged child. There was never a need to worry about money or the lack thereof. It was as if money really did grow from trees. My mother and father seemed to never stress about it and so I never did until my father passed away in 2007.
He was my emergency fund. When I needed extra money or wanted a luxury item I would go to the Bank of Dad for a withdrawal. There was no interest to payback or accountability on my part. My dad was stuck with the bill if it was due if I would his credit card. Unlike banks, dad never said, “no” to my personal loans; he was always opened for business.
His demise was my wake up call. I had become homeless, living with unknown debt and unknown health issues. It was shocking to one day find myself living in a shelter, broke (spiritually, mentally and financially), transportation, and ill. I knew that I had to change my mindset and my relationship with money, improve my health and to never depend on someone else’s finances to make my life better.
57% of Americans—approximately 138 million adults— are struggling financially. (Source: CFSI’s Consumer Financial Health Study.)
I’d never thought that I would ever struggle financially. Struggling to improve my finances was the key to improving my health. Without health insurance and money in the bank, my health to a backseat. With a five figure debt bills and I had gained 150 pounds stressing over money and my living situation. By sitting down and connecting the dots that my physical health was also causing my financial health to decline is when I had improved my physical health and my financial health also.
Financial health is creating a plan and planning for the unexpected. It is to never not know where I will live, eat or sleep. It is creating a life that I will improve not only for myself but others in my family and community. It is being able to receive the proper medical attention that I need because I had a plan and finances in place to handle the unexpected. It is knowing that I am responsible for creating a financial plan and healthy body for myself. The only emergency fund that I have outside of God is the one I will invest to create.