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Financial Wholeness: How to Get Good with Money by Tiffany Aliche “The Budgetnista”

From financial wellness to financial wholeness, Tiffany Aliche, the Budgetnista, shares steps for your biggest benefit in her new book, Get Good with Money: Ten Simple Steps to Becoming Financially Whole, a New York Times bestseller.

I’ve known Tiffany since 2014 and have seen her grow in such amazing ways. She continues to inspire me with her do-good-first attitude about everything. She has helped with both my Road to Financial Wellness trips and I’ve had the pleasure and fun to share the stage with her multiple times. If you’ve read the first few lines, you know I am not just a friend but a big fan of her work. Here’s a bit more back story.

When I settled back in New Jersey, I was researching financial education events in the Elizabeth/Newark area. I came across a budgeting series hosted by the United Way with an educator by the name of Tiffany Aliche. The first time I reached out to her was in early 2014. She was gracious with her time and wanted to know about the work I was doing. Later that same year, two Jersey locals finally met in person at a conference in New Orleans.

In 2015, Tiffany joined me at my event in Elizabeth and then came to speak at my book launch the following year. Okay, this article isn’t about me gloating about my friendship with Tiffany, but about her accomplishing a dream to share her financial philosophy in one book. I want to celebrate her accomplishments.

Tiffany Aliche and Jason Vitug in Plutus Awards and Road to Financial Wellness and Urban League Union County Young Professionals

Tiffany and I share a common belief that people can gain a sense of fulfillment while working to achieve financial goals. It’s equally important to master your money and live your life. She shares these values through her Live Richer Challenges and academy. She embodies them in how she acts and interacts with others. Money is indeed a tool we must all learn to use to allow us to enjoy the journey.

How to Get Good with Money

In her New York Times bestselling book, Get Good with Money, Tiffany’s main point is this: Financial Wholeness is when all aspects of your financial life are working together for your greatest good, your biggest benefit, and your richest life.

The book has eleven chapters:

  • Chapter 1: Before We Begin: Get to Know Financial Wholeness
  • Chapter 2: 10% Whole: Budget-Building
  • Chapter 3: 20% Whole: Save Like a Squirrel
  • Chapter 4: 30% Whole: Dig Out of Debt
  • Chapter 5: 40% Whole: Score High (Credit)
  • Chapter 6: 50% Whole: Learn to Learn (Increase Your Income)
  • Chapter 7: 60% Whole: Invest Like an Insider (Retirement and Wealth)
  • Chapter 8: 70% Whole: Get Good with Insurance
  • Chapter 9: 80% Whole: Grow Richish (Increase Your Net Worth)
  • Chapter 10: 90% Whole: Pick Your Money Team (Financial Professionals)
  • Chapter 11: 100% Whole: Leave a Legacy (Estate Planning)

As you can see, Tiffany doesn’t waste any pages to get to the gems. It’s well organized and thought-out to help you navigate finances in a simple and easy-to-follow way. As the Wholeness score shows it’s a progression to 100%. She also created a Financial Wholeness Quiz. You can take the quiz yourself here.

Each financial wholeness tier is broken down into three main parts: the Plan, the Do, and the Review, along with a resource she calls the Get Good with Money tool kit.

What is Financial Wholeness?

Financial wholeness is a term coined by Tiffany that encompasses a comprehensive assessment of one’s finances. She shares that financial freedom, a worthy goal, may not be attainable for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you’re not doing well financially or that you should hold off creating a financial plan that increases your peace of mind. Whether you’re making $40,000 per year or $100,000, she wants you view your finances as a series of steps that can be taken to ultimately feel secure.

What I love about the book is how relatable it is to just about everyone. For example, you can follow the steps to make sure you’re doing all you can to be financially whole when you’re just starting out in your career. Then, you can go through the steps again a few years later when you’ve moved up in income or decided to quit the rat race and start your own business.

So, you can read this book and go through Steps 1 through 10. And when circumstances change or a few years later, you can go through the steps again to reassess your financial wholeness score.

Financial wholeness and financial wellness are intertwined. I’m known as a financial wellness advocate helping people understand the connection between their mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing as it relates to their finances. I want more people to feel secure and find inner peace with their finances so they can live more purposeful lives. I wrote about my philosophy in my book, You Only Live Once: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness. Now, Tiffany’s book is a great compliment as it outlines actual steps to follow to become financially whole and well.

Financial Wholeness Quiz

Not convinced yet? Let me share how Tiffany breaks down her ten steps. When you complete the financial wholeness quiz online, you’ll get your score. This is a great first step to take.

1. Budget Building – 10%

I have a written, and at least partially automated (i.e. transfers, savings, bill pay, etc.), personal budget. I have the necessary checking and savings accounts to support my budget. 

2. Save Like a Squirrel – 10%

I have accumulated at least 3 months of my necessary, bare-bones expenses (Noodle Budget) for emergencies saved in an online-only savings account. – 10% 

3. Dig Out of Debt – 10%

I am either debt-free or I have a clear picture of who and what I owe and have written down the components of each debt (amt. owed, interest rates, due date, etc.). I’ve also identified and use a debt pay-down plan (e.g. snowball method), and use my bank’s online bill pay tool to (at least partially) automate payments. 

4. Score High (Credit) – 10%

I have requested and received a copy of my free FICO credit report and score within the last 12 months. I have a 740 FICO credit score or higher, or I’ve identified the factors that are impacting my score and have come up with a game plan to increase it to 740+. 

5. Learn to Earn (Increase Income) – 10%

I’ve identified ways I contribute value to my job and feel confident I can leverage them to ask for a raise or promotion. Or, I already have multiple streams of income, and/or I know how to increase my income by monetizing my existing skillset and education. I have a plan of action if I desire to make more money. 

6. Invest Like an Insider (Retirement and Wealth) – 10%

I have identified my retirement and wealth goals. I’ve created and implemented my investment plans with the help of my Human Resources representative, a certified financial planner, online tools, or by myself. I’m committed to consistent contributions toward investing. I’ve learned to largely leave my investments alone and give them the opportunity to grow. I put in place a clear investment plan for both retirement and wealth-building. 

7. Get Good with Insurance – 10%

I know that I have adequate insurance coverage because I understand and have calculated my needs around health, life, disability, and property and casualty (e.g. home and auto) insurance. 

8. Grow Richish (Increase Your Net Worth) – 10%

I know how to calculate my net worth (what I own minus what I owe). I have a positive net worth and/or I know how to achieve, increase and maintain a positive net worth. I have a net worth goal and have defined the specific actions I’m going to take each month to achieve my goal.  

9. Pick Your Money Team (Financial Professionals) – 10%

I found, vetted, and assembled a money team of financial professionals and accountability partners that will help me reach my financial goals (i.e. certified financial planner, insurance broker, estate planning attorney, or certified public accountant, etc.). 

10. Leave a Legacy (Estate Planning) – 10%

I have identified and completed the applicable components of my estate plan (e.g. a will, trust, beneficiaries on my accounts, etc.) and have executed (signed) and funded it. This means I have a plan for what will happen to my estate (cash, real estate, jewelry, and other assets) after I pass no matter the size of my bank account and portfolio (i.e. investments, home, stocks, bonds, etc.)

Get your copy of Get Good with Money: Ten Simple Steps to Becoming Financially Whole

It’s time to get into financial wholeness, get your copy of her financial wholeness book. It’s available wherever books are sold. You can grab it on Amazon. Barnes & Noble, Target, Walmart, and independent booksellers.

Tiffany Aliche and Jason Vitug
Tiffany Aliche and Jason Vitug in the Elevate Conference and You Only Live Once Book Launch

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