What Is Financial Health Day? 9 Must-Do Tasks to Make It Productive
Fix a day to finally complete your financial to-do list that you have been putting off for days
Financial Health Day is a global phenomenon
I did not know that until I came across this concept in a Ted Talk by Wendy De La Rosa, and I researched more about the topic.
When I spoke to my friends about it, they also had not heard about the concept before. Without anyone experiencing its benefits around me, I had to try it out myself for some months before realizing its immeasurable advantages.
What is Financial health day?
It’s as simple as it sounds — a day where you dedicate time to measure your financial health and finish off all the activities around it. Many small but essential chores, especially money-related, get put in the backdrop because of our daily tasks.
It might also be because we hate dealing with our life’s financial aspects or are afraid of it. Whatever the reason might be, we procrastinate the most important decisions.
When we only sort out some time of our day for our financial chores, we opt to do the easiest of tasks, feel good about them and move on with our lives in the false bubble we live in. Setting out an entire day to do the same puts pressure on us to complete all those tasks that have been pending for months.
Nine tasks you need to do to improve your financial health
1. Know the financial facts of your life goals
We all have certain things we want to do in life. Be it buying a house, going on a trip, or even buying a car. All of them cost money. This step includes writing down your immediate and long-term life goals and researching how much they cost. Set aside a budget for them.
For example, if you want to buy a house, look into the nominal rates in the locality you want to get a place in. House rates depend on multiple factors: area, furnishing, size, age of the house, etc. Decide on all these factors and know the optimal budget you have to set aside.
2. When was the last time you checked your debts and emergency fund?
Have a student loan, or house loan, or credit card debt? Calculate how much debt you have in total, and keep a target for repaying it. If you have a set percentage of salary that automatically goes into repaying your debt, review the percentage.
Take an inventory of all your savings from various resources (bank accounts, investments, etc.) and check whether you have the required emergency savings. If you have more than what is needed, try to pay off your debt. If you have lesser, allocate a budget to save a percentage of your salary every month automatically.
3. Address unaccounted spending
This step includes the morning coffees or takeaways, extravagant food shopping (including snacks), or the clothes you purchased during this month’s sale. In my case, these small amounts became huge ones over time; and mostly, it was related to food.
While we do need to spend on ourselves from time to time, there must be a limit for everything. You cannot order outside food every day or go out for drinks every alternate day.
This step is not only to stop your spending but also to reevaluate your priorities. Do you order from outside because you do not have time? Then hire a maid! That is okay, but at least you would not be ruining your health.
4. Review your subscriptions
This step came as a surprise on this month’s financial day. I had three subscriptions going on which I had not used for months. One of them was Amazon Audible which my husband was asking me to cancel for two months, but because of something or the other, I never did. Last week, I finally canceled it. It was not that I required it; I had not opened the app for three months.
Again, there are multiple ways you can do this. Want to go for a family plan with your friends to get better rates? Go for it. Want to use the same money in some other subscription that would either save you time (grocery delivery) or improve your knowledge (Kindle Unlimited)? Go for it! Just make sure you are optimizing your use of all the subscriptions you have.
5. Contact your insurance
Do you know what exactly your insurance covers and what are the terms and conditions? Is there any way you can negotiate the rates? If it is Life Insurance, what will be the amount returned, and at what period?
Contact your insurance company(s) and know everything about them. You should be aware of this information in case of emergencies — especially for health insurance. If you can ask for new insurance quotes, which will save you money in the long run, go for it.
If you do not have life insurance, make sure to do your homework and get one as soon as possible.
6. Call your credit card company
Try to negotiate on the credit card rates or the annual fees put on the card. Look into the points you have currently and decide how you will use them if it is a lot. Are you going to cash it, get a coupon, use it as an Amazon card? There are so many options out there.
Look out for the advantages you get with each type of card. Choose the card that gives you more points and offers while purchasing various items. Ask your company to update your card while negotiating the fees.
7. Plan for your financial goals
How much do you want in your emergency and savings funds? What do you want your “net worth” to be by the end of the year? How are you going to go about it? What percentage of your salary is going into savings? How far are you in your financial goals? These are the questions you should answer with this point.
Also, try to keep your money in separate accounts for your primary life goals (house, travel, etc.).
8. Review your investments
Does a percentage of your salary automatically go into your investments every month? Have you delegated the task of investing to another person? Use this time to review all your investments and calculate the returns you get from them.
Look out for other investment options that will provide you with better returns, and be ready to switch your investment flow accordingly.
Not started investing money yet? Try to do your homework and start it right now. Start small, and make sure to diversify your portfolio.
9. Examine your spending and budget for the future (Most important)
After completing all your above tasks, you would now understand your spendings better and know where to save money. Also, make sure to review your complete spending practices in this step.
Calculate your expenses for the last three months, figure out how much you need each month, and prepare a budget for the same. Evaluate whether you can keep your head above water and check whether you can get something for a lower price. Are you staying in a house with too much rent? Try to move into a house with lesser rent. If you are single and are okay to have roommates, find one. Do you have the option of switching to a low-cost cell phone provider? Please do it — even small amounts matter.
Keep in mind all your investments, house and food budget, debt, savings, and your emergency fund. Segregate money according to that.
Below are some tips to make your financial health day easier for you:
- Make sure to take a day off from your work and not do these tasks on the weekends because many banks may not work during weekends.
- Take printouts of all your bills (including credit and debit cards). Looking at everything on paper together will make it easier for you to get an overall picture.
- Write down all the unaccounted expenditures (subscriptions, food, latest hospital emergency, etc.). Make sure to have all your expenses on paper.
- Block the whole day and make sure your friends and relatives don’t disturb you.
- Make sure to have your financial health day at least once in 6 months.
Knowing and keeping track of your finance, savings, and investments is extremely important. This day will also allow you to talk about money with your partner and come on the same page—plan about your goals, dreams, and financial commitments. Make sure to use it well.