Have you ever heard of a Money Health Day? It's something I've been (trying to) do once a month since getting turned on to FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) movement at the beginning of 2020.
As a teacher in the wellness space, I think investigating the "freeze / numb / collapse" response when it comes to money health is fascinating. On tax day (April 17, 2023 in the USA) I spent the day doing money stuff and was so excited about how different I felt about it (compared to 3 years ago) that I wrote this blog post.
I'm going to start blogging and teaching more about money health integrates into mental health and nervous system self-regulation. This is a very practical share about what I'm learning about money health, combined with observations of myself when I notice that I am numb, frozen, or collapsed (all deep primal stress responses). Stay tuned!
Now for my summary of Money Health Day:
I had a great money health day today! It is tax day, but I had already finished them last week.
My awesome tax preparer helps me sort out what kinds of deductions I can make on my two sole proprietor business (Heart of Sound and a car rental business), and then we run the numbers for what I can put into my retirement accounts in order to reduce the amount of state and federal taxes I owe.
Side note advice for other sole proprietors and side hustles:
Recently when I started my car rental business side hustle, my total income started to add up to make a bit more money than I spent in building up the Heart of Sound mantra and nada yoga teacher training & retreat business. (Since the training has always supported my Guruji and musical lineage, as well as female empowerment and education in India, it is a labor of love that hopefully pays for itself rather than being a source of profit.) My tax preparer (who saw it coming) gave me GOLDEN advice: to start a Solo 401K retirement account, which enables me to put funds in both as me, and as an employer. If I have an abundant year, I can sock away quite a bit more into my retirement that way! Yay!
I never would have thought seriously about doing a car business on the side without the FIRE mentality though. It has been an awesome, very smart choice for me to have something "normal" that has nothing to do with anything yoga, wellness, or music.
Money Stress (conscious and unconscious)
I’ve struggled with freezing and numbness when it comes to money, probably because my neither of my parents ever talked about money except to say that we couldn’t afford things. No one around me discussed investing, compound interest, or self-employment retirement planning. Both of my parents were very frugal and had savings accounts and owned property (with a mortgage). Beyond that great start, I have had to educate myself and deal with the very real mental and physiological stress responses I have when it comes to handling money. For a long time, I simply avoided thinking about money, much less doing anything proactive or empowered about it!
MY BIGGEST (INHERITED) PROBLEM IS THAT I SIT ON CASH.
I have family members with cash literally sitting in a safety deposit box, losing value year by year (due to inflation plus failing to earn interest), but they’re afraid to even put it in a savings account. Their savings accounts at small local banks earn 0.3% interest but they feel uncomfortable even moving it to a bank that’ll earn a higher return. (I’m getting 4.25% right now, which is more than a 14 times higher return!)
Over the past 2 years I’ve been aware of this “freeze” response and have done several things that have made it feel safer to look at my finances and take action:
So I’m celebrating today, because after 3 years on the FIRE journey, I felt much less anxiety about looking at my money and making some smart (conservative) moves. I’d even say it was fun, once I got into it!
Today I found big chunks of money that were just sitting in accounts not earning ANY interest, and I fixed that so it’s not happening NOW, and is less likely to happen again in the future.
Here’s what I did today (it took about 4 hours, because I had to keep overcoming my numb response and read things twice, double check that I did things, etc.)!):
I feel nervous about doing more into the market, though. And my mom would be absolutely freaking out!
Baby steps, one day at a time! I'm celebrating my WIN and giving myself permission to move as slowly as I need to to feel SAFE.
But to keep on track, I also finished off my Money Health Day by doing these things:
Lastly, I wrote this blog post to capture and celebrate how great I feel about actually doing it, and hopefully inspire you to have a Money Health Day too!
Note: I chose this image of Lakṣmi's foot taking a step forward in blessing, because that feels like what's happening in me these days!
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