#SWAAYthenarrative

Holistic Wealth: Five Reasons All Women Should Develop Their Own Financial Identity

5 Min Read
Finance

Holistic wealth is about creating the circumstances in your life that allows you to be resilient and resourceful. I love these two words –– because they embody what I want for all women –– the ability to bounce back from life-altering setbacks and the ability to create and leverage resources to be financially independent. In my new book Holistic Wealth: 32 Life Lessons to Help You Find Purpose, Prosperity and Happiness, there's a whole section of the book filled with advice on how to achieve financial freedom.

Financial independence is one of the core concepts of living a holistically wealthy life. There are several strategies to get you to a place where you have enough income to pay your living expenses for the rest of your life without having to work full time. Whether this means retiring by the age of 40, or taking a more traditional route, building your financial portfolio depends on your financial identity. Here's an excerpt from the book:

A well-planned future also starts with developing your own financial identity. One way to do this is through financial literacy. Improving your financial literacy is also the greatest stimulant of wealth. Many of us make our first large purchase with a spouse or significant other. The first house, the first car, the wedding and honeymoon — these are all expenses tied to our expansionary years. We therefore transition into adulthood not having gained a full sense of our own personal financial identity. For instance, what is my investment identity? What are the things I will splurge on versus save on? This can also be tied to our values and mission in life. It is highly individual.
Each of us should have a financial identity — one that is distinct and separate from our spouse's or parents'. If you find yourself always wondering what your friends or parents think about the way you spend or invest, then it's an indication that you haven't fully figured out your financial identity. It's impossible to design a well-planned future without a proper financial identity — we end up living our lives in the footsteps of others—and possibly making the same money mistakes.

Excerpt from Holistic Wealth: 32 Life Lessons to Help You Find Purpose, Prosperity and Happiness. Copyright @Keisha Blair.

Book cover reading: "Holistic Health: 32 Life Lessons to Help You Find Purpose, Prosperity, and Happiness" by Keisha Blair. Holistic Wealth Book coverPhoto Courtesy of Keisha Blair

There are a few things you should be doing today that can help you rebound from setbacks in your future. Get a life insurance policy, plan for your retirement, and build an emergency fund, for starters. But your well-planned future also depends on developing your own financial identity. Here are five reasons why all women should develop their own financial identity:

It Relieves Worry And Stress

When you have your own financial identity you don't have to second guess every money move you make and you are confident that you are on the right track. Your own savings philosophy and investment philosophy that's tied to your personal values and mission is a key piece of becoming financially independent. It allows you to assess your goals and your money moves to ensure you're on the path to success.

It Leads To: A Life, Well Lived

This is the title to the opening chapter of my book. Its aptly named for the first chapter, because it's hard to have a life well lived, without having your own financial identity. When your money and spending decisions are constantly influenced by someone else –– your family and friends, a business partner you are on slippery turf. Not only does that railroad your dreams it puts your future in a precarious position.

It Fosters Taking Measured Risks

Taking measured risks is key to achieving a life, well-lived. It is important to take measured risks to achieve certain goals. For instance, the decision to buy that first home or investment property, or even starting that business you've always dreamed of, requires taking measured risks. Achieving your goals also rests on the realization that not taking measured risks, or simply not taking action at all, is detrimental to achieving holistic wealth. Yet in taking measured risks, we look for validation from others to do so. When we don't have a financial identity but look to the crowd for approval –– then taking measured risks becomes less likely, and we bow to the pressure of doing what everyone else is doing –– and not charting an individualized path forward.

It Allows For A Well-planned Future

Planning well means ensuring you have life insurance, adequate emergency savings to last for at least six months, and investments that can yield enough to enable financial resilience.

But your well-planned future also depends on developing your own financial identity.

Everyone should have a good hold on their spending. Developing a budget and building an emergency fund is paramount. Make sure you have life insurance in place. Focus on addressing debt. After that develop a savings plan (both short and long term) and stick to it.

It Prevents A Never-Ending Cycle of Money Mistakes

When you haven't developed your own financial identity you risk making the same money mistakes over and over again. In addition, we end up living our lives in the footsteps of others—and possibly making the same money mistakes. We get stuck in two-step cycle: We make our own money mistakes repeatedly – like getting into unnecessary debt, accumulating things we don't need –– and making the money mistakes others make – spending too much on entertainment or too many night out with friends.

Financial independence is one of the core concepts of living a holistically wealthy life.

In summary, having your own financial identity can save you from a lifetime of disappointment and frustration. It can make the difference between having a fulfilling happy life and constantly living in fear and anxiety about money issues. Most important of all, it can enable you to be financially resilient, and better able to weather the inevitable storms and setbacks that life brings.

This article was originally published October 28, 2019.

3 Min Read
Lifestyle

Tempted To Dial Your Ex: 5 Ways To Know Whether Or Not You Should Contact An Old Flame

Thinking of ringing up your ex during these uncertain times? Maybe you want an excuse to contact your ex, or maybe you genuinely feel the need to connect with someone on an emotional level. As a matchmaker and relationship expert, I was surprised at the start of the coronavirus quarantine when friends were telling me that they were contacting their exes! But as social distancing has grown to be more than a short-term situation, we must avoid seeking short-term solutions—and resist the urge to dial an ex.

It stands to reason that you would contact an ex for support. After all, who knows you and your fears better than an ex? This all translates into someone who you think can provide comfort and support. As a matchmaker, I already know that people can spark and ignite relationships virtually that can lead to offline love, but lonely singles didn't necessarily believe this or understand this initially, which drives them straight back to a familiar ex. You only need to tune into Love Is Blind to test this theory or look to Dina Lohan and her virtual boyfriend.

At the start of lockdown, singles were already feeling lonely. There were studies that said as much as 3 out of 4 people were lonely, and that was before lockdown. Singles were worried that dating someone was going to be off limits for a very long time. Now when you factor in a widespread pandemic and the psychological impact that hits when you have to be in isolation and can't see anyone but your takeout delivery person, we end up understanding this urge to contact an ex.

So, what should you do if you are tempted to ring up an old flame? How do you know if it's the wrong thing or the right thing to do in a time like this? Check out a few of my points before deciding on picking up that phone to text, much less call an ex.

Before You Dial The Ex...

First, you need to phone a friend! It's the person that got you through this breakup to begin with. Let them remind you of the good, the bad and the ugly before taking this first step and risk getting sucked back in.

What was the reason for your breakup? As I mentioned before, you could get sucked back in… but that might not be a bad thing. It depends; when you phoned that friend to remind you, did she remind you of good or bad things during the breakup? It's possible that you both just had to take jobs in different cities, and the breakup wasn't due to a problem in the relationship. Have these problems resolved if there were issues?

You want to come from a good place of reflection and not let bad habits make the choice for you.

Depending on the reason for the breakup, set your boundaries for how much contact beforehand. If there was abuse or toxic behaviors in the relationship, don't even go there. You can't afford to repeat this relationship again.

If you know you shouldn't be contacting this ex but feel lonely, set up a support system ahead of time. Set up activities or things to fall back on to resist the urge. Maybe you phone a different friend, join a virtual happy hour for singles, or binge watch Netflix. Anything else is acceptable, but don't phone that ex.

Write down your reasons for wanting to contact the ex. Ask yourself if this is worth the pain. Are you flea-bagging again, or is there a friendship to be had, which will provide you with genuine comfort? If it's the latter, it's okay to go there. If it's an excuse to go back together and make contact, don't.

Decide how far you are willing to take the relationship this time, without it being a rinse and repeat. If you broke up for reasons beyond your control, it's okay. If your ex was a serial cheater, phone a friend instead.

If there was abuse or toxic behaviors in the relationship, don't even go there. You can't afford to repeat this relationship again.

As life returns to a more normal state and you adjust to the new normal, we will slowly begin to notice more balance in our lives. You want to come from a good place of reflection and not let bad habits make the choice for you. Some do's and don'ts for this time would be:

  • Do: exercise ⁠— taking care of you is important during this time. It's self-care and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
  • Do: shower, brush your teeth, and get out of your sweats.
  • Don't: be a couch potato.
  • Don't: drink or eat excessively during this time. Again, remember to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Do: think positive thoughts everyday and write down the 3 things you are grateful for. Look at the impact of John Krasinksi's SGN. It's uplifting and when you feel good, you won't want to slide backwards.
  • Don't: contact a toxic ex. It's a backward move in a moment of uncertainty that could have a long term impact. Why continue flea bagging yourself?