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Welcome to our blog! We are a husband & wife photography team based in Madison, Wisconsin who document weddings & anniversaries for joyful couples who believe in marriage. This blog is a journal about real love stories, marriage & our own adventures along the way! We are so glad you're here — please stay awhile!

MAISON      CALEB

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LIFESTYLE

Whole Being Health & Wellness | Part 3: The Financial.

March 17, 2020

Today’s post is the final in a three-part series I called “Whole Being Health & Wellness.” To very quickly recap up until this point:

In Part 1 of the mini series, I first shared the WHY behind writing this series — my lifelong rollercoaster journey of desiring and searching for true whole being health and wellness; the story about how I’ve gotten to the place I’m in today where though ever evolving, I feel I have found a lifestyle that is sustainable, supported by my physical, mental/spiritual, and financial mantras. In Part 1, I focused on the PHYSICAL aspects of whole being health and wellness.

In Part 2 of the mini series, I shared about the mental and spiritual aspect of the whole being trilogy. This piece, I believe, is the most important and foundational piece.

Today, in Part 3 of the series, I will be finishing by talking about finances. This aspect may seem a little unrelated in comparison to the physical and mental/spiritual sides of whole being health and wellness, but in my own life, I have found them to be more closely connected than one would think.

Finances seem to be such a significant part of people’s lives … something that can either FREE them or FEAR them. We live in a world, in a society, that feels as though it’s driven by money. And many people feel they just don’t have enough. I have experienced money and finances to cause unprecedented stress in my own life and in the lives of those around me. So, for me, including finances as a part of whole being health and wellness is crucial.

Our Financial Whole Being Health & Wellness Mantras

  • Don’t do it alone
  • Be realistic
  • Start somewhere (re: saving)
  • Have an emergency fund
  • Avoid debt 
  • Buy with purpose
  • Nothing is a guarantee
  • Set a goal (SO that you have a reason to do all this!)

I invited Caleb to write these with me because they are our financial mantras. For us, it is critical that we don’t do it alone when it comes to finances. We share all our accounts so that there is complete transparency between us when it comes to our finances. Sharing our money not only allows us to work together towards our goals as we both contribute, but it also holds us accountable with the purchases we are making and helps prevent impulse or unnecessary purchases. Related to not doing it alone, if you don’t know what to do or where to start, get help! We have always worked with a financial advisor of some sort to help guide us in our financial decisions.

Being realistic about your financial situation is foundational. If you honestly know how much money you’re making and what your expenses are every month, you can make informed decisions about when to spend and when to save. Being realistic and informed about your current situation helps prevent stress as you make smarter decisions.

As a general rule of thumb, the sooner you start saving, the better. When the guy who now manages some of our investments first showed us the stats about what it would look like if we started saving right then vs. waiting to start saving in five years, I think both our mouths dropped to the floor. The difference was significant in just five years. Don’t avoid saving. It doesn’t have to be a lot, just start with something to get into the practice (a percent of each paycheck, an automatic withdrawal each month, etc.). Though it may not be what you would like to ideally be saving, you will eventually get there. Start now with what you can do and continue to increase the number as you’re able!

Having an emergency fund is an idea we learned from the financial icon, Dave Ramsey. An emergency fund can be of any amount, but basically it’s a sum of money you have set aside in an easily accessible account for … emergencies (water heater goes out unexpectedly, medical bills, loss of a job, etc). An emergency fund gives peace of mind that if anything unexpected happens, finances don’t have to be an added stress since you have prepared for this. Just like above, you can start with something like $1,000 and build from there!

Avoiding debt is one of our top financial priorities. This was something I had never given much thought to until I married Caleb and I learned about interest rates! Our only current debt is our 15-year-mortgage and we worked HARD to make this a reality. We have chosen to, 9 times out of 10, not have the newest/latest/greatest item in order to be able to purchase things outright and pay off our credit card bill every single month. I cannot tell you how much I’ve grown in this area – this was not (and can still not at times) come easy or natural for me. If I had to simply sum up the why behind this mantra, I would say that we have decided that the financial stress we experience from debt is not worth any material thing we could own. Avoiding debt gives us FREEDOM.

Buying with purpose ties a bit into what I just shared above. Again, this has been such a journey for me — learning that material things truly do not satisfy! I used to believe that (I still do at times!). But I can honestly say that now, my greatest joys in life are not material things. When it comes to purchasing those “extra” items, we try to buy with purpose. What does this look like? Some examples would be: Not buying impulsively (in-store or online) and instead, thinking about items for a day or two … or waiting for them to go on sale and buying if they still exist AND we still want them. Asking, “Will this purchase truly add to my life?” Buying ethically is another way to buy with purpose and SO close to my heart; as ethical items can be a little harder to find or a bit more expensive, I find I tend to buy them with more thought and intention. Lastly, just asking simple questions when you find the impulses striking … “Why am I buying this?” or “Do I really need this?” can be so helpful and allow you to slow down.

How do you even begin to do any of this? Setting a goal is a huge motivator … for us at least! Maybe your goal is to be debt free ASAP so that you aren’t tied down to anything financially. Maybe it’s to be able to GIVE more to people and organizations in need. Maybe to buy a lake home. Maybe to pay for your kid’s college. Whatever it may be, having a clear goal makes saying “no” to things and “yes” to other things just a little bit easier : )

Lastly, and to put it bluntly, nothing is a guarantee. I think this is a work of the heart. And again, for me, a continual one to notice and press into. You could spend endless hours managing and planning and thinking about finances. But markets could crash … emergencies could happen … jobs could be lost … Where do you find your happiness? Your hope? What is your purpose? What are you chasing? We believe it’s so important to care about your finances as they are an amazing resource and tool … but to hold things with open hands.

This topic is really fascinating to me and I could write at great length about each one of these mantras! For the sake of simplicity in today’s post, I obviously just shared our mantras. If you would be curious to learn more specific info about each point, or how we logistically do things, etc., please comment below and I would be more than happy to do future blog posts that would be helpful!

Lifestyle

  1. Julia says:

    So good Caleb and Maison. You are both wise beyond your years ❤️

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