To this “Broke Twenty-Something,” financial health means flexibility.
For me, this June has been an absolute epic month. I’ve been bouncing a few freelance projects, directing a kids show, and LEAVING MY FULL-TIME JOB. Feel free to gasp. I’ve gasped and cried many times about it all. I made the choice at the beginning of the month to leave my job and pursue some other options. Talk about stressful and hectic! While I do not yet feel prepared to be a full-time freelancer, I would not have been able to take a leap of faith out of my full-time job unless I was in a good state of financial health.
According to the Center for Financial Services Innovation, “households that say they have a planned savings habit are four times more likely to be financially healthy than those that do not save or do not have a planned savings habit.” In my experience, that quote is proving itself to be true every day. I’m so thankful that I got into a savings habit early. Every two weeks on paydays, I’ve had a set amount automatically debited from my bank account and that has continued to build up over time. Because of that, I was able to walk out of my full-time job (almost) without stress so that I could find a better opportunity. That healthy savings habit put me in a place to be flexible and open to finding a job that better suits me. If that financial habit was not in place, I would be stuck toiling away at a job that didn’t value me for an undetermined amount of time just to make ends meet.
Aside from having savings as an indicator for financial health, I also think it is important to consider having more than one stream of income. Even with your physical health, you know diet AND exercise are crucial to maintain overall health. With financial health, I believe savings AND income are essential to financial health. If you don’t have income, it can be hard to save any money and when you don’t have an income, you’ll be thrilled that you saved some money to fall back on. Right now, I’m fortunate to have both – some savings to pay my bills from, but some freelance income to push me through until I find another full-time opportunity.
At this moment, I don’t think I can go without a full-time job for more than just a couple of months, but I’m grateful to be in a good state of financial health for the moment. The flexibility to make a choice because of my financial health has made all the difference to my mental and emotional health too. I can take solace in knowing my basic needs will be met, but I can also take a little time to rest and reset my future goals. I wake up in a better mood everyday because I’m secure enough to not go into a job that was giving me such grief and anger issues to deal with everyday.
Like I mentioned above, being financially healthy means flexibility. Flexibility to make a choice – to choose how to spend my time, to choose something that gives me joy, to choose whatever I want for this short amount of time.
Tell me in the comments: What does financial health mean to you?
**Written as an entry for the #FinHealthMatters Blog Contest!**