When it comes to your wallet, the perks of practicing financial self-care are pretty clear. Being intentional about what you’re doing with your money — keeping tabs on your spending habits, setting short- and long-term money goals, and tracking your progress — can help you save and invest more, trim expenses, pay off debt, and build up wealth over time.
But your bottom line isn’t the only thing that can benefit from this kind of self-care. Here are four other benefits you may not have even considered.
1. It reduces stress
A full 65% of women (and 52% of men) say that money is their #1 source of stress. In contrast, 77% of people who feel “somewhat or very financially secure” report lower stress levels, and 73% of people who said they felt clear about their money goals were less stressed, too.
Our own research shows that more than any other thing — including their job, their education, or their support network — the act of saving and investing is what makes women feel confident in their ability to meet their future financial goals.
2. It helps you take care of others
This is the whole “put on your own oxygen mask first” thing. You simply can’t do the job of taking care of people you care about as well if you don’t take care of yourself. This includes your money.
Want to be able to support your parents in their retirement? Send your kids to college? Drop everything to care for a sick relative? Say yes to the optional surgery that would help your puppy live more comfortably? Getting your money straight helps you do all that.
3. It can be good for your health
Stress is definitely bad for your physical health. So by managing your money and reducing stress, you’re doing your body a favor, too.
And more than that: Willpower often acts like a muscle — and when you use it, it gets stronger. So successfully building habits in one area of your life (like your money) might be able to help you build good habits in other areas, too (like exercise, nutrition, hydration).
4. It helps you prioritize the things you value
Most of us don’t have all the money to do everything we want (or sometimes even need) to do. Being on top of where your money’s going now and making solid plans for where you want it to go helps you learn about yourself and what you value — even if you can’t get there yet, and even if it means difficult tradeoffs.
As you practice financial self-care, you can treat those values like a money goal. Maybe you want to start donating to a cause you care about, or giving people really good birthday gifts, or investing in companies that do good in the world, or refusing to give your money to companies whose business practices you disagree with, even if their products are least expensive. No matter what it is, start where you are and work your way there.
All the more reason to start practicing financial self-care … today. Like, right now. In fact, here’s a checklist to get you started.
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