Taking Steps Toward Better Financial Well-Being

Removing the taboo around money is a good start. Whether you are one step behind or on-track, there are likely many more people who can relate to your situation than you realize.

Do you have any best practices for improving one’s financial literacy?

You can start by changing the narrative. I have heard so many people say they are bad with money, but they really aren’t. They just don’t know how to think about money in a way that makes sense for them.

Find a way for your money to make sense to you so that you’re not reading blogs and getting just information that is not making much sense. Once you do, it’ll be easier for you to make lasting changes.

What can people do today to begin planning for their retirement and long-term financial security?

Get a clear picture of where you are now. This means knowing what your income and expenses are, as well as looking at your net worth statement, or simply how much you own versus how much you owe. Being uncertain of where control your financial future you are now makes it difficult to plan for the future.

What are the crucial conversations to have while setting a budget for one’s self, a couple, or family? How do your BudgetingBlocks help people have these conversations?

This is one of my favorite questions! So often, people start with the numbers on their budget and get frustrated when it doesn’t work, which makes sense. They are starting the conversation in the wrong place. I always encourage people to start the budget conversation with their values. What’s most important to you in life? What are the core values to your family? The people who are most content have a strong sense of this and align their spending to these core values in their life.

Through the BudgetingBlocks app, we have everyone start with their values and visualize their spending in blocks. Many people have found it difficult to visualize their spending on spreadsheets or even apps.

We all learn differently, and so many people have been told that they are bad with money when in fact they came up with a system that works for them. Just like we wouldn’t expect everyone to learn the same way, why should we expect everyone to budget the same way?

When you have a visual representation of your expenditures, you can have a different and more productive conversation around the family and see where your money goes. With the BudgetingBlocks, we say every budget tells a story. Your budget should look different than others because our values and priorities are different.

How can someone prepare for unexpected financial struggles or strains?

The best way to prepare for unexpected financial stresses is to visualize them in advance. That’s why having emergency funds is crucial. You should also think about how you overcame previous struggles.

We are far more resilient than we give ourselves credit for, and often have the resources — financial or otherwise — we need to navigate difficult times.