Money Fundamentals

Financial Wellness RoadMAPS: Your Path to Living Well

Financial wellness is a state of healthy living through the active pursuit of financial knowledge, planning, and goal setting to live your best life.

A few years ago, we set out on the road to financial wellness to turn local money conversations into a national conversation on financial wellbeing. We learned that people define financial wellness as having enough to live comfortably, experience little financial stress, and have time to enjoy life.

We broke the money taboo during the road trips. We commiserated over financial struggles and opened up about our stresses, and also discussed our hopes and dreams. I shared my financial journey: the good, the bad, the ugly, and eventual successes. And offered the resources and tools needed to get their financial life together.

Today, the mission continues.

What is Financial Wellness?

Financial wellness is a state of healthy living through the active pursuit of financial knowledge, planning, and goal setting to live your best life.

Living your best life happens when you experience less financial stress. Stress is a normal part of life, but financial wellness aims to lessen the financial stress you experience and improve your overall well-being.

Financial wellness definition

Financial wellness is about your health and wealth. It’s about the overall quality of your life. It means doing more of what you love and more of what brings you joy. Being financially well means you can cover financial emergencies, contribute to a retirement fund, manage debt, and afford your needs and wants.

Benefits of Financial Wellness

Financial wellness aims for a healthier outlook on life that includes mental, emotional, and physical health. As a lifestyle goal, it’s about managing money today and planning a future with less stress and a healthier lifestyle.

In my book, You Only Live Once, I wrote:

“I wanted people to understand that financial success-however you choose to define that success-only matters if you’ve found a balance between money and life. I used the term financial wellness to describe the state of living in which your wellbeing is measured by the quality of your life, not just by wealth.”

Why it Matters

We’ve all had moments when our finances caused a great deal of stress. When we cannot meet our financial obligations, it causes stress, leading to fatigue, absenteeism, lower production, higher medical costs, lousy performance, anger, and a feeling of hopelessness. These worries affect our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

I explored the intersectionality of money and wellness in Happy Money Happy Life.

Your health matters, so financial wellness matters.

When you can manage your money and feel better about your finances, you’ll gain a sense of security and peace of mind that supports physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

The Financial Wellness RoadMAPS

I created the roadMAPS to guide you along your journey. They combine the key components of my books, You Only Live Once, Happy Money Happy Life, and Make Your Money Smile.

The goal is to achieve financial well-being—a state of healthy living—where you experience less money-related stress, gain a positive outlook on life, and feel genuine satisfaction.

My roadMAPS system stands for:

  • Mindset
  • Awareness
  • Planning
  • System

Mindset

Mindset plays a crucial role in financial planning, shaping your attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors toward money and financial management. Here’s how your mindset and money interact:

  • Abundance vs. Scarcity Mindset: An abundance mindset focuses on opportunities, growth, and the belief that there is enough wealth to go around. On the other hand, a scarcity mindset is characterized by fear and a belief that resources are limited. Adopting an abundance mindset encourages proactive financial planning and seeking growth opportunities.

  • Long-Term vs. Short-Term Orientation: A long-term mindset emphasizes delayed gratification and planning for the future. Individuals with this mindset are more likely to prioritize saving and investing for long-term goals such as retirement or financial independence. In contrast, a short-term mindset prioritizes immediate gratification and may lead to impulsive spending or neglecting future financial needs.

  • Beliefs About Wealth and Success: Mindset shapes your beliefs about wealth, success, and prosperity. Individuals with a positive mindset believe in their ability to create financial abundance and achieve their goals through hard work and smart financial decisions. Conversely, negative beliefs or self-limiting beliefs about money may hinder financial success and prevent individuals from reaching their full potential.

Awareness

Vision, values, life milestones, and financial goals play integral roles in financial wellness, shaping the direction and framework of your financial journey.

Vision

Your vision represents your overarching aspirations, dreams, and long-term objectives. It serves as the guiding light that informs your financial decisions and shapes your overall financial plan.

A vision statement provides clarity and direction, helping you align your actions with your desired outcomes.

Learn more about creating a vision statement.

Values

Values are the fundamental principles and beliefs that guide behavior, shape priorities, and influence decision-making. They represent what you deem important in life.

Your values serve as the foundation for your financial plan. By aligning your financial decisions with your values, you ensure that your actions are consistent with what matters most to you.

Learn how to identify your core values.

Life Milestones

Life milestones are significant events or achievements that mark key stages in your journey. They may include milestones such as getting married, buying a home, starting a family, advancing your career, or retiring.

Life milestones serve as focal points for financial planning, providing benchmarks and targets to work towards. They represent concrete goals and objectives that shape your financial priorities and strategies.

Learn how to set your life milestones.

Ultimately, your progress toward financial wellness is not just about achieving numerical targets; it’s about living a life aligned with your vision, values, and milestones. By integrating these elements into your financial plan, you can pursue financial success in a way that brings fulfillment and joy.

A is also for Assessment

A financial health assessment is a thorough examination of your financial situation. It involves assessing various aspects of your finances, including income, expenses, savings, investments, debt, and overall financial goals.

This comprehensive review provides invaluable insights into your current financial situation and helps identify areas for improvement.

Follow these 8 simple steps to assess your financial health.


Planning

Setting Goals

Financial goals provide the framework for your life milestones, helping you quantify your aspirations. They are specific, measurable objectives you aim to achieve within a defined timeframe. These goals include saving for retirement, paying off debt, affording a home, funding education, or building an emergency fund.

Learn how to set financial goals.

Financial Planning Process

Financial planning is a dynamic process that involves setting goals, assessing resources, and developing strategies to achieve those goals. It’s a holistic approach to managing finances effectively.

FINANCIAL PLANNING AreasDESCRIPTION
BudgetingTracking income and expenses to ensure financial stability and identify areas for saving and investment.
Insurance PlanningEvaluating insurance needs and selecting appropriate policies to protect against unforeseen events such as illness, disability, or property damage.
Investment PlanningDeveloping a diversified investment portfolio aligned with your risk tolerance, financial goals, and time horizon.
Retirement PlanningEstimating retirement expenses, determining retirement income needs, and creating strategies to accumulate savings for retirement.
Tax PlanningMinimizing tax liabilities through strategic tax planning techniques and maximizing tax-efficient investment strategies.
Estate PlanningStructuring an estate to ensure the orderly transfer of assets to beneficiaries while minimizing tax implications and administrative costs.

System

Smile Money System walks you through every aspect of improving your financial well-being.

Money Beliefs

It starts with money beliefs, which inform your financial habits and behaviors. These beliefs either cause distress or lead to success. Learn more about improving your money mindset.

Tell me what you wantWhat you really want.
You really want to createMoney isn’t the end goal. 
You really want wealthBuilding wealth isn’t a selfish act.
You really want more timeTime is a finite resource. 

Money Vitals

By calculating your money vitals, you determine areas of strength and uncover opportunities for improvement. Calculate your personal finance numbers.

1. Net worthNet worth is your security number.
2. Cash flowCash flow is your safety number. 
3. Income numberIncome number is your scalability number.
4. Credit scoreCredit score is your credibility number.
5. Debt-to-incomeDebt-to-income is your movability number.

Money Journey

It does not matter where you start, just as long as you’ve started the journey. Choose your path and area of highest concern right now.

Path 1: Save for the unexpectedYour emergency savings plan.
Path 2: You’re going to retire one dayContribute to retirement accounts.
Path 3: Debt is holding you back Eliminate debt prioritization.
Path 4: You need to make more moneyMultiply and diversify your income streams.
Path 5: Start investing right nowMake money with money and let it grow.
Path 6: Be creditworthy, not credit hungryUse credit as leverage for wealth building.
Path 7: For your protection, pleaseProtect your most prized possessions.
Path 8: Your ultimate safety netBuild a cash reserve for peace of mind.
Path 9: Independence is your birthrightReach financial independence.

Money Mastery

The financial wellness pillars categorize seemingly complex financial matters into five areas, focusing on a simple overall strategy. 

ManageYour cash flow strategy–directs your money to what’s most important.
EarnYour income strategy–optimizes your earnings and diversifies your income.
GrowYour investing strategy–prioritizes your savings for retirement and independence.
BorrowYour credit strategy–shifts your mindset to build wealth using leverage.
ProtectYour legacy strategy–secures your most valuable assets.

S is also for Stages

The financial wellness stages helps you visualize what’s necessary to achieve money and life goals. You begin with financial literacy, a fundamental aspect of financial health. With financial knowledge, you’ll navigate the stages with ease and with an understanding that learning continues at every stage. 

Stage 1: Financial LiteracyFinancial literacy is understanding the basics of personal finance, banking terms, and how money works.
Stage 2: Financial CapabilityFinancial capability is being knowledgeable and capable of making better decisions with your money.
Stage 3: Financial SecurityFinancial security is when your income is enough to cover lifestyle choices because you’ve created a money plan.
Stage 4: Financial RetirementFinancial retirement is when your contributions have set you up for a comfortable retirement in the future. 
Stage 5: Financial IndependenceFinancial independence is when work becomes completely optional because you have enough income from investments to cover expenses.
Stage 6: Financial FreedomFinancial freedom is when you can be and live however you want without the trappings of finances. You’re living the life you choose.

Additional Resources

Get copies of the financial wellness trilogy to shift your mindset, change your financial life, and live a healthier and happier life.

Access the financial marketplace to find the best money apps, from banking to investing to side hustles and more. Head on to phroogal.com.

Jason Vitug

Jason Vitug is a bestselling author, entrepreneur, and founder of phroogal.com and thesmilelifestyle.com. His purpose to help others live their best lives through experiential and purposeful living. Jason is also a certified yoga teacher and breathwork specialist and has traveled to over 40 countries.

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