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Financial Literacy vs. Financial Wellness

I’ve been financially literate for years.  I began studying what it meant in my mid-twenties (since it’s not something we’re taught in school).  But it’s only in the past two years that I’ve become financially stable.  There’s a difference.  A BIG difference.

Financial literacy can be easily achieved by educating yourself.  There are plenty free sites on the Internet and thousands of books, magazines, or newspapers you could read.  But financial wellness and stability can only be achieved through implementation of what you know.

And that’s where I got stuck.  Perhaps you have too.

Despite knowing what to do (spend less than I earn, create a budget, save for emergencies, and manage my credit wisely), I still couldn’t do it.  Even though I knew WHAT to do, I didn’t know HOW to change my money behaviors in a meaningful and mindful way.  I wasn’t able to do anything consistently or long enough for it to have any real impact.

I stumbled upon the Financial Recovery Institute through my friend Stephanie.  Even before I spoke with my mentor the first time, I was convinced that this process was the missing piece I’d been searching for all those years. And I knew that not only did I want teach it to others, but I desperately needed it for myself.

And I was right.  Not only do I now have practical tools that I use on a regular basis, but I also have insight into why I made those mistakes in my past.  The stories, if you will, that caused me to repeat the same patterns while saying to myself, “This time things will be different.” Patterns like running up business-related debt over and over again, telling myself that when the big deal I was working on closed, all my money worries would be behind me.

I seriously believed that my income was the cause of my money issues.  I was wrong.  Money issues don’t discriminate.  We all have them to some degree.  There is no correlation between income level, education, or even your net worth.

Not only do I now have a sense of control around my money—even in this uncertain economy—but I finally feel like a financial grownup.  And you can too.

I put together a Financial Wellbeing Elements checklist that shows that financial health is more than dollars and cents; more than your credit score; more than your net worth.

In future posts, I’ll cover each of the twelve Financial Wellbeing Elements in more detail.  Enjoy!

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