Back to contents

Why Your Financial Wellbeing Matters

Apr/21/2024 / by Sweta Vikram

Making money should not make you feel guilty

3D collage artwork with a woman's hand dropping coins into an open purse
Photo via Shutterstock

For my one-on-one Ayurvedic coaching sessions, I offer potential clients a free 20-minute discovery call. They share their problems and health goals, and I explain how I work. And then we figure out if we have common synergies that will make us a good fit. 

An old friend reached out the other day, and they wanted me to work with their child. I appreciate them addressing the elephant in the room, even if awkwardly: “This won’t be a favor. I want to pay for the session.” 

I responded right away, “Thank you for saying that. But I don’t work for free. Neither does the client take my work seriously nor do I feel that invested.” The person at the other end of the phone sounded relieved.

After all, financial wellbeing impacts our mental and physical health.

In the world of Reiki, we say there isn’t an energy exchange when the healer is working for free. That “energy block” helps no one. 

And in the world of business, it’s common sense to charge for your services. My initial consultation is 90 minutes long. I also do a lot of research based on a person’s health condition. I can’t be expected to invest three to four hours and not be compensated for it. I also learned the hard way that you can only help those who help themselves. Save your energy and precious time for those who are willing to pay you for your expertise. 

I nourish my heart by donating and doing volunteer work. I teach pro bono yoga to certain populations that can’t afford visiting a yoga studio. But when it comes down to my company and work, I am particular about being forthright, unapologetic, and I don’t offer a free ride.

It’s Okay To Talk About Money

I didn’t always have this clarity. I would feel guilty bringing up money. I would rather talk about death than money. I know it sounds insipid in hindsight. But that’s the truth. Maybe it’s the woman or Indian woman or Indian, immigrant woman in me who was conditioned to feel awkward around money talks. Maybe it was the taboo or lack of financial education that became barriers.

Then let’s not forget: People assume they shouldn’t have to pay for wellness consultations, especially with a woman. Like a large majority of women in wellness, I wanted to save the world. Magnanimous idea, no? But also, so rooted in ego. How can you serve others from an empty cup? How can you heal others when you are depleted from giving but not receiving anything in return? Is it fair to your family that you put your family’s savings into running an unofficial charity?

At some point, the scale of expectations tilt, and things explode. For me that happened when I found myself fighting for my life and breath in the E.R. in 2018. The nurse didn’t realize that I was awake and asked my husband if he wanted to pay off the bill. My last thought before I lost consciousness was, “I am going to die and leave him with financial debt.” I fell in my own eyes and vowed to change my mindset, if I made it out of the hospital. 

The Link Between Financial Wellness, Stress, And Mental Health

I work with clients who are extremely stressed and money is often one of the causes. Stress is a significant contributor to a host of serious physical ailments like heart disease, stroke, depression, and even obesity.

Financial stress can lead to divorce, create problems in relationships, increase physical health challenges, as well as add to mental and emotional issues like anxiety and depression. 

Financial issues can also lead to physical health symptoms, such as migraines, a weakened immune system, high blood pressure, digestive issues, muscle tension, heart arrhythmia, and sleep problems. This all can lead to you needing to spend money to treat these issues, which can lead to more financial stress.[4]

But knowing my numbers helps me plan better and lowers my stress. I don’t like spreadsheets and entering data. But if we only pursued what we like or love, where is the growth? I have seen friends’ marriages dissolve or crisis hit the family or an illness deplete the bank account. Life happens and financial wellbeing makes the difficult days bearable if you know what’s within your range.

Financial wellness is important because its effects go beyond your bank account.[1] Financial health is about one’s ability to manage expenses, prepare for and recover from financial shocks, have minimal debt, and build wealth.[2] Financial health can dramatically improve one’s life and prevent hardships. Good financial health means you can reach your goals, take advantage of opportunities, and pursue your dreams. [3]

Being Financially Literate

By doing the work necessary to get your financial house in order, you might add some years, and greater quality, to your life.

Knowing what you make, what you have saved, what you owe, what you can afford to invest, what you spend, and what you must budget empowers you. Many businesses are cyclical. If some months are slow for you, financial literacy and health will help you tide those times with sensibility. During the seasons when you make extra money, you save and invest that cushion for your future. The fact is that if you don’t understand how to manage your money, you are at risk of overspending, going into debt, and not saving enough for your future.

There is a lot of work ahead of us as a society in terms of equal pay, equal rights, and the income gap between men and women. But what women can do this April (which is Financial Literacy Month as well as Stress Awareness Month), is to start to get comfortable with numbers and seek help from a financial professional to get their financial health in place. Start small but start today!

“Financial fitness is not a pipe dream or a state of mind. It’s a reality if you are willing to pursue it and embrace it.” ~ Will Robinson

Seema

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

Get notified about exclusive stories every week!

You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

Seema will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.