Categories
Financial Wellness

 5 Good Money Habits Your Team Needs To Start Doing Now

Is your team struggling with financial anxiety? The MindNation CareNow© Plan includes 24/7 teletherapy sessions with psychologists and WellBeing Coaches to help ease their stress and worries. Partner with MindNation to build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Visit www.mindnation.com or email [email protected] now.  

When it comes to financial well-being, there is no better time to build good habits than today. With your guidance and help from MindNation WellBeing Coaches, your employees can commit to their money goals, budget better, and be happier, healthier, and more productive. Below are some healthy money habits they can start practicing:

  1. Track their finances regularly. Every month or every payday, remind your team to sit down and go over their cash flow. How much income came in and what are their expected expenses? Of the amount that they are able to save, how much will be allocated to the different funds?

“People tend to just go with the flow — ‘Oh, my expenses this month are high so I need to remember to spend less next month’ or ‘Wow, I was able to save a lot this month, I can spend more next month!’” explains financial coach Yani Moya. Yani is also the founder of Peridot Consulting, a financial consulting firm . “But this is a bad habit because money ends up controlling them, which can cause stress; a good habit is one where you control money.”

  1. Save before spending. “When people receive their salary, they spend it first on their needs and wants, and whatever is leftover is what they consider to be their savings,” Yani reveals. “But income is not the capacity to spend. So set aside money for savings first, then budget whatever is left for their different expenses,” she adds. 
  1. Set boundaries when giving money to family. It has become part of Filipino culture for an adult child to give a portion of their earnings to their parents as a way of repaying the years spent raising them. “There is nothing wrong with this if they are giving the money whole-heartedly,” Yani clairfies. “But if they are doing it because they feel obligated, this will lead to poor mental health. So remind them that if they must give, give only what they can.” 

Unpaid bills or outstanding loans are forms of negative money energy that contribute to stress, anxiety, and poor productivity.

Yani Moya, Personal Finance Coach
  1. Clear up negative money energy. Unpaid bills or outstanding loans are forms of negative money energy that contribute to stress, anxiety, and poor productivity. The only way to clear up negative money energy is to start paying them off, so help your employees make a plan to achieve this. “For example, this month’s focus will be on finishing off the remaining balance on Credit Card X; next month’s goal is to settle the loan they took out from Person A,” Yani explains. 
  1. Give back. If there is negative money energy, there is also good money energy. And when you give out good energy in the form of tithing and sharing, it will be returned to you, if not in the form of money then in terms of better opportunities, relationships, and even well-being.

“So just as much as your team member has to allocate money for their wants, they also need to build the habit of setting up a giving fund,” Yani advises. “The amount does not have to be big, it can be whatever they are comfortable with giving.”

By practicing these good money habits, your team will develop the skills and confidence needed to handle anything that comes to money. “How we are in one thing is how we are in everything,” Yani points out. “So if we want mental clarity, emotional peace, and good relationships, fixing your finances can be a big help.”

Categories
Financial Wellness

The Emergency Fund: Help Your Team Build Theirs Even During A Pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, many employees learned the hard way how important having an emergency fund was. Having money tucked away in case of job loss, reduced income, or other large and unexpected expenses can help ease stress and create a financial buffer to keep one afloat during times of need without having to rely on credit cards or taking out a loan (both of which they might have difficulty paying off in the end).

“An emergency fund is a form of savings account. You keep it in the bank and only spend it on dire situations,” advises financial consultant Nicole Suarez. “Only when you have met your target amount can you explore putting the excess in investments.”

If your team is experiencing financial stress or need help building better budgeting habits, partner with MindNation to avail of 24/7 teletherapy sessions with WellBeing Coaches who can help ease their anxieties. Visit www.mindnation.com or email [email protected] now.

How much is needed?
The general rule would be to set aside three to six months’ worth of living expenses,” Nicole suggests. But even then, she says that it also depends on one’s personal and financial circumstances. “Is the person a breadwinner? A parent? Or are they single and living with parents who provide for all their needs?” she enumerates. All these factors should be considered when computing how much money to set aside. For example, employees who are breadwinners will need to save even more, while those who are single can put small amounts into the emergency fund and just increase it over time. “The important thing is to build the habit,” she adds. 

How to build the fund during the pandemic

Replenishing an emergency fund on a reduced salary can be hard but it’s not impossible. Here are some suggestions you can offer your team members so that they can find extra money to set aside:

  1. Just start with what they can. Employees who are living paycheck to paycheck should not be expected to set aside an entire month’s salary right off the bat; it’s unrealistic and will set them up to fail. “Suggest that they set aside whatever they are comfortable with,” Nicole stresses. “When it comes to saving money, any amount will help.”
  2. Turn clutter into cash. “Look for things at home that they no longer need but can sell,” Nicole advises. These include pre-loved clothes, toys, and other household items. “Of course, they won’t be able to price them as high as they would want, but assure them that a small amount is better than nothing.”

“When it comes to saving money, any amount will help.”

Nicole Suarez, Financial consultant
  1. Cut down on expenses. “Remind them to be mindful of how much takeout they order in a month and to resist impulse buying during payday sales,” Nicole says. “Ask them to review their monthly subscriptions, like meal services or streaming services — is it possible to downgrade the subscription or cancel it entirely?”
  1. Look for other sources of income. “If your employee is particularly skilled at something, encourage them to turn it into a side business,” she suggests. This article by Forbes lists the reasons you should let your team moonlight: it will boost their financial health, give them an outlet for pursuing their passion, improve their creativity, and make them happier overall — all characteristics of a good employee.
    But to make sure that their side hustle does not interfere with their work in the company, clearly communicate your rules and boundaries during you regular one-on-one sessions; having an honest and open conversation will benefit you both. 
  2. Don’t go into debt. “An emergency fund is something that is built over time; because there is no pressure to come up with the money right away, it does not make sense to borrow money to fill it,” Nicole explains. 

During these uncertain times, an emergency fund can go a long way to boosting your team’s financial and mental health.

Categories
Financial Wellness

Mariel Bitanga: 5 Rules For Better Financial Health

Contrary to popular belief, good financial well-being is not achieved by simply having a lot of money in the bank. For Mariel Bitanga of Simply Finance, a boutique financial planning firm committed to empowering Filipino women, having adequate savings is a good start but it’s also important to regard personal finance holistically. This means saving and spending your money properly, borrowing wisely, and setting clear financial goals. “Good financial health is all about balancing each of these pillars,” she advises. 

Mariel provides more specific tips below:

  1. Have a savings plan. Saving your money is good, but don’t fall into the trap of  becoming an over-saver, or someone who constantly puts away money — and just leaves them there. While over-saving is an admirable practice on the surface and is better than over-spending, it’s better to invest your savings in money market accounts or mutual funds so that the money grows in value over time. 

Another way to maximize your savings is to split them up into different accounts, each with its own purpose. “By opening multiple savings accounts, it becomes easier for you to identify financial goals and make sure you are on track to achieving them,” she says. 

  1. Stick to a budget. The basic rule of managing your expenses is to make sure you are not spending more than you earn. This does not mean, however, that  you should forego buying your ‘wants,’ be they make-up, fashion, toys, travel, etc. “Buying these are fine on occasion,” Mariel assures. “Just make sure you spend more on the things that are important to you and less on items that are not as important.”
  1. Borrow wisely. “It’s perfectly okay to have debt, but don’t take out a loan to buy frivolous things or because you are in competition with someone else’s standard of living,” Mariel advises. “If you must borrow money, do it to purchase things that will increase in value over time, like a house loan or to further your education.” 

“It’s perfectly okay to have debt, but don’t take out a loan to buy frivolous things or because you are in competition with someone else’s standard of living.”

Mariel Bitanga of Simply Finance

Furthermore, don’t forget to scrutinize the terms of the loan carefully before finalizing the deal. “Read the fine print, because some companies charge a higher interest rate after a certain number of years,” Mariel says. “Also check if the monthly repayments fit your budget or if they will bleed you dry. Lastly, make sure that the person or institution that you are borrowing from is licensed and legitimate so that you do not get scammed.” 

  1. Plan for the future. “Setting financial goals does not have to be intricate,” Mariel assures. “You can plan for as short as six months to as long as five years, although I recommend that you review your plan every year or even every quarter so that you can adjust accordingly.” For those who are wary of making plans because of the pandemic, Mariel counters that today’s uncertain times make financial planning even more important. “The more you don’t know what’s going to happen, the more you should have a roadmap that shows you where you see your money going, how you can optimize it, or even how you can attack debt, so that in case the situation worsens you at least have something to guide you.”
  2. Talk about personal finance with as many people as possible. Exchange personal best practices with peers and family members, not just with a financial adviser or financial planner. And rest assured that you do not have to be a financial expert to broach the topic with others. “The concepts about personal finance — such as saving and spending — are all very basic, simple, and what many of us already know to a certain extent,” Mariel shares. “Conversations about financial health need to be normalized. The less the topic is taboo, the more people can help each other to make smarter decisions about money.”

MindNation WellBeing Coaches can help you build better money management habits so that you can save, spend, borrow, and plan your money wisely. Message https://bit.ly/mn-chat  so you can book a teletherapy session now.

Categories
Financial Wellness

Money Talks: 5 Ways To Normalize The Conversation About Financial Matters With Your Employees

In a previous post, we discussed how financial stress can affect an employee’s mental health and productivity at work. As a leader, one of the ways you can help your team members maintain good financial footing and achieve better well-being is to normalize talking about financial health. 

But because financial problems are extremely personal matters, they must be addressed carefully. According to a report by Canadian multinational insurance company and financial services provider Manulife, feelings of shame and embarrassment make it difficult for people to reveal money issues.

To remove the stigma facing financial conversations, Mariel Bitanga of Simply Finance, a boutique financial planning firm committed to empowering Filipino women, shares some ways you can approach the topic with your team members without seeming too intrusive or judgmental.

  1. Make sure you are giving your employees the right wages and government benefits. “The first step to ensuring that your employees have good financial health is making sure they receive what is rightfully due to them,” Mariel reminds.
  2. Regularly hold company-wide activities that actively promote or raise awareness about financial well-being. “If you are holding mental health awareness activities, why not have a Financial Awareness Week or even a Financial Health Month?” Mariel asks. “If your Human Resources Department is not equipped to facilitate finance-related activities, you can opt to invite experts to come and give talks about personal finance or smart investments.” Sessions like these usually lead participants to comfortably discuss their learnings with their peers afterwards and break the stigma about financial health. MindNation conducts virtual trainings to help employees take charge of their personal finances and make smart money decisions. Sessions are facilitated by licensed financial planners and financial health advocates. To book this talk for your organization, email [email protected].
     
  3. Include the topic in performance reviews or regular one-on-ones. Just like how you should frequently check-in on your team member’s physical and mental health, it’s important to do a financial health check as well. “Push through the embarrassment and have a frank talk about wages and expected bonuses or salary increases. Knowing this information can even incentivize employees to perform better at work,” Mariel points out.

Just like how you should frequently check-in on your team member’s physical and mental health, it’s important to do a financial health check as well.

Mariel Bitanga of Simply Finance


4. Have an open-door policy. “Make your employees feel that they can come to you anytime if they need advice or discuss anything related to money struggles,” shares Mariel. “This way they feel safe instead of being scared to bring up concerns about their salary or benefits.”

5. And when concerns do arise, be honest and transparent. In case an employee asks for something more than you can give, i.e. a salary increase or a promotion, Mariel advises that you stick to the facts and not let emotions get in the way. Instead of saying something like ‘We’re all affected by this pandemic, don’t ask for a raise,’ present to them the company rules or policies involving raises and promotions. “Has the employee done something to merit a salary increase?” Mariel says. “Make it transparent so that expectations are clear and you do not give false hope.”  

Now, if the said employee comes back to you with a list of all their achievements but the company is really in a tight financial spot, be honest. “Apologize, explain the situation, and graciously tell the employee that you will not take it against them if they decide to look for opportunities elsewhere,” Mariel suggests. This way, there are no hard feelings on both sides.

By normalizing the conversation about financial health, you encourage your employees to talk more openly about their financial needs, share ideas and best practices, and make them more compelled to work on their financial wellbeing. Download our free Achieving Financial Wellbeing toolkit https://bit.ly/MN_financialtoolkit to learn how else you can help your employees increase their financial health, meet their short-term and long-term financial goals, and balance today’s challenges with tomorrow’s needs.