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Financial struggles and financial successes can both be a part of your military journey. There are many opportunities like deployment or re-enlistment that can have us soaring, but the day to day paycheck may leave us scratching our head. Either way every money situation has one thing in common - stress and emotion. October is emotional wellness month and one of the most emotional things in our lives is how we feel about our money.

 

Money means different things to different people. Let's use my favorite mac n' cheese as an example - some people see comfort and some see hours on the treadmill. Money is just the same. It means different things to different people. When I say the word "money" what feeling does it evoke in you? Try this exercise of virtually putting yourself in these money situations:

 

  1. Winning a lottery prize
  2. Getting an inheritance
  3. Losing your job
  4. Buying a car
  5. Not having money to purchase groceries
  6. Receiving a bonus
  7. Planning retirement
  8. Making a donation
  9. Budgeting
  10. Saving with coupons
  11. Financial discussions (budgeting, investing, life insurance)
  12. Discussing savings and investments
  13. Paying off a credit card or loan
  14. Borrowing money, or lending it and being owed
  15. Buying a home
  16. Knowing your benefits
  17. You or your children going to college
  18. Shopping

 

Every single one of these things on the list strikes an emotion in me; happy, ecstatic, overwhelmed, proud, scared, empowered, mad, worried, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. I am also able to tell you a story about almost every one and associate some sort of feeling with the people in those stories.

 

Money is emotional. Why does that matter? It matters because we are humans, and our emotions can control our decisions.

 

This emotional wellness month, take some time to "get right" and start making the best decisions with your money. The first step you can take is to identify your relationship. Does money buy you happiness -even temporarily? Does the lack of money cause you stress and worry? Do you let your moods affect your spending? How much of a role does money play in your everyday stress level?

 

Once you your relationship the next step is to develop a plan to redefine it. This could include preparing a budget - which may mean you have to face your fears, or speaking with a financial counselor/planner and getting some assistance. Whatever your relationship, the path to emotional wellness as related to money is all about you - and only you have the power to change.