Money Health Day: Overcoming the Freeze Response!

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!


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:

  • Educated myself on the FIRE movement, mostly by listening to the ChooseFI podcasts while I’m gardening, cleaning, or taking walks.
  • Latched onto the 1% better idea and made small steps regularly (with occasional bigger ones!) Doing it all at once would have felt too terrifying to my sense of safety.
  • Scheduled Money Health Days monthly in my calendar. Mostly I ignore them (to be honest) but the fact that they’re there reminds me, at least! Today was the first time I actually took a whole day to nourish my money health in over a year, but in 2020-2021 I was pretty diligent about them and that’s when I made some of my biggest improvements!
  • I’ve periodically made some moves towards putting money into different types of accounts that earn more interest, and even investing into mutual funds and stocks.

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.)!):

  • Opened up my account (which tracks all of my accounts automatically) to look at my total net worth.
  • Used their credit score tool to discover mine is 798!
  • Wrote down on graph paper how much money is in each account, and how much interest (if any) it is earning. (I have a lowkey fetish for office supplies and graph paper makes me ecstatic.)
  • Moved money from accounts that earn 0% interest, into accounts that earn the most interest. (Paypal, Venmo, etc. as well as my local Hawai’i bank offer zero to minimal interest, but often I’m lazy and don’t look at what’s sitting there, much less take the time to make the transfers.)
  • Set up an account at and purchased iBonds at a guaranteed rate of 6.89% for a year. I only did $1K because I felt hesitant, but I’ll check that it all went well and consider doing more before the rates change May 1. I can't touch that money in less than 5 years if I want to get the maximum interest, but that's OK.
  • Looked at my total amount in cash and made a pie graph of how much money is in which type of investment, at which type of interest… so I can be sure I’m comfortable with the amount of risk.
  • The figures looked REALLY conservative I think I could be more bold/savvy and do more in CDs and iBonds and put more into the market.

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:

  • I also made a to-do list for next week and I’ll see how I feel then. Hopefully my papers won’t get buried or ignored like they often do.
  • To safeguard against this (I know myself!) I scheduled my specific money tasks in my Reminders for next week so I don’t forget or go numb again and blow them off.
  • Called Vanguard to get help moving a chunk I paid into my retirement account last year and left it in their Market account at zero interest, then forgot about for a year. Boo. I lost out on even putting that into a CD! Not this year though. Their support team is always really patient with me (I’ve decided to be honest about what I don’t know with them, rather than be ashamed and pretend I know what they’re talking about when they go too fast. They don’t get frustrated when I ask them to talk me through things several times and walk me through the confusing-to-me maze of their website. It’s very helpful and healing for me!)
  • On that call, I found out more about my account type and some limitations, and now I’m empowered to make the moves I need to make next week!
  • Entered my current accounts total into a compound interest calculator and found out how much I’d need to invest each month, at a conservative 7% average interest rate, in order to have my retirement savings goal in 10 years (when I’d like to have the option of retiring). It’s inspiring me to get on it, maximize my side hustles & income, minimize my expenses, and go for it! I screenshot the calculator and plan on looking at it regularly. HUGE WIN: I can see that with some consistent focus and discipline it is totally doable!
  • I made it easier for me to automate keeping money in accounts that are earning interest… I added the online savings account earning the most interest to Paypal and Venmo so I can easily transfer accumulated funds into that (instead of my local bank, which earns much less!)
  • I told my boyfriend that I had a great Money Health Day and that inspired him to make some money health moves too. :)

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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