Why Financial Wellness Is Essential For Black Women
April was Financial Literacy Month, but what does that actually mean?
According to Investopedia, financial literacy is the ability to understand and effectively use various financial skills, including personal financial management, budgeting, and investing.
When it comes to wellness, finances is often a subject that we shy away from, but it is such an important part of our overall well-being because money affects just about every aspect of our lives.
Black women, compared to white counterparts, face unique challenges when it comes to having access to financial services and resources that can help us to build wealth. The harsh reality is that Black women are not being paid adequately for their work, and experience, regardless of being the most educated group in the United States. Financial literacy alone won't save us from the actuality of the staggering statistics of the impact of the gender wage gap on Black women and other races, but financial education can help us to make better use of our money.
It's critical for us to have the knowledge and tools for handling our finances responsibly because we are the caretakers, the teachers, and the nurturers. The more we know, the more we can help our families, our children, and our communities. So many of us are either the head of our households or building businesses so we need to have the bandwidth to be able to fully show up and ensure that we are making the right financial decisions.
We all want to get to that place of financial freedom. Just like self-care, financial wellness looks different to every person. For me, I want to be free to do what I want like travel, go shopping, and not live paycheck to paycheck. For someone else that may look like: buying a home or car, or just being able to relax and not worry about how the bills will get paid.
First, we have to figure out where the money problems come from. Getting to the root issue or cause of our relationship with money will provide clarity, and help to figure out what the next steps should be.
Is it the lack of money or our mindset around money?
Our relationship with money comes from how we were raised or simply not knowing how to use money efficiently. We have all heard the phrase “more money more problems.” That does not have to be the case if we have the proper tools, understanding, and resources.
So here are some things that worked for me:
SAVE: Start with an amount that is comfortable for you, it can be anything from $10-$100 it all adds up over time. Savings can come in handy for emergencies or that trip that you are planning.
BUDGET: Write down all income and expenses, something you can refer to on a weekly or monthly basis depending on how often you pay your bills. Having a budget helps to stay on track with spending.
ELIMINATE: Look at your bank account, and take inventory of most if not all of the extra expenses that you are making like any services and/or subscriptions that are not needed or don’t get used that often.
CREDIT: Know your score and how to make it better, scores matter when it comes to your interest rates also for deposits on your home, car, and utilities. Also, there may be discrepancies or things that may prevent you from getting that home or car with your credit. Get clear on how you can improve your credit so that you can get what you want.
GET RID OF THE SHAME: Let go of the guilt and shame that you've been carrying around about accumulating debt, living paycheck to paycheck, or living above your means. Forgive yourself for past mistakes.
Guilt, shame, and feelings of being a failure can be paralyzing, especially as it relates to our funds. It can have an effect on our self-esteem and sense of worth and cause us to isolate ourselves from the people that we love. At the end of the day, we've all made hasty decisions with our finances at some point in our lives. The goal should never be perfection, but to arm ourselves with the education, and tools to better serve ourselves and manifest the lifestyles that we desire.
If you are looking for ways to improve your financial literacy or to simply familiarize yourself with how to achieve good financial health, take a look at the resources below: