Earlier this year, I started my journey with the ANZ Financial Wellbeing Program, to help me become more in control of my day-to-day finances and have the financial freedom to make choices that allow me to enjoy life. But I’ll be the first to put my hand up and say I’ve never been very good with managing my finances. Numbers are not my strong point.
I know how scary it can be to look at your finances, I’ve been there. When I started, my Financial Wellbeing Score was 49 out of 100, below average for my age (I talk about it on my Instagram post). I was too scared to look at it, and I thought that if I just didn’t deal with it, maybe somehow I could manifest it to go away. But manifesting also comes with taking action, and so this year - by following the ANZ Financial Wellbeing Program - I committed to improving my financial wellbeing once and for all.
And you know what? Once I got started, I actually found it FUN. Something I never thought I’d say about money. But it gives you a sense of empowerment, knowing that you are improving your financial resilience and sense of financial security.
Here are my Four Financial Wellbeing Tips I’ve learnt from this program to help you on your financial wellbeing journey:
#1 Recognise your fears and do it anyway
The first step to change for me was admitting that I needed help. Squash the taboo of ‘No money talk’ that our parents taught us when we were little. Talking is exactly what we need to do in order to get better with our finances. I started by using the ANZ Financial Wellbeing Calculator which gave me an indication of where I was at in life when it comes to finances. It made me think about if I would be safe if I lost my job or get slapped with a big unforeseen bill.
#2 Honesty is the best policy
If you can’t be honest with yourself about your current debts and savings, then it’ll be hard to get out of any financial difficulties you might be in. It took me a while to admit that I was in much deeper waters than I could get myself out of.
#3 Budgeting is FUN. Yes, FUN!
Learning to budget for myself and my own personal life has been a game-changer. Starting with a budget is like starting to build a house on a solid foundation. Without it, it would fall to pieces instantly. A good budget gives you an overview of expenses and incomes. It also shows you how you can move money around, where you should tighten up (lay off the take-away coffees), how long it will take to save for that holiday you’ve always dreamt of.
#4 Bucket your money
And I don’t mean into the bin! Have you ever heard of the 50-30-20 rule? It’s nothing new, but it IS very helpful, especially if you’re not great with finances like me. For me it took the difficulty out of knowing how much of my monthly income (after taxes) I needed to set aside and for what. Once you’ve figured out your own percentage split, you can really set yourself up for success by setting up automatic transfers. The less you have to think about saving money, the easier it is to save. Just remember to make the splits what's right for you.
Tackling my finances has honestly been one of the best things I’ve ever done. And when I rechecked my Financial Wellbeing Score after three months - guess what? - it was 83 out of 100. Not by earning more money, but by using it better, because my attitudes and behaviors to money had changed. Every time I pay more off my credit cards, squash a debt smaller or save for that holiday, it makes me smile so much. And it also makes me feel incredibly proud of myself for facing my fears and setting myself up for the future.
This article was kindly contributed by ANZ financial wellbeing ambassador Caroline Groth, health and wellness advocate, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and yoga lover.