January 30, 2024

5 More Mindful Financial Wellness Tips that helped me Gain Stability & Freedom.


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*Editor’s Note: This piece is part of a series—lucky you! Follow Roopa and read Part One here.

Welcome back!

I hope you found some nuggets of wisdom in the first five tips I shared in part one of my journey toward mindful financial wellness.

In part two, I would like to go over five more mindful financial tips that have been instrumental in helping me find mental peace and financial harmony. Join me as we delve deeper into the realm of mindful financial choices, and discover how they can contribute to a holistic sense of well-being.

So, let’s continue our conversation on achieving financial peace together:

6. Having your own space is key, even if it’s small.

Nothing—absolutely nothing—gives me peace of mind more than knowing that I have my own space. That no landlord can ask me to move out or refuse to renew the lease or jack up rental prices willy-nilly.

And having my own space for me means no mortgage, nothing owed. Owning something outright.

That also means that I will never be able to buy a big house.

But here’s the thing, I do not want or need a big house. An apartment was always enough for me. That’s a key difference between me and many of my American friends. They always talked about how they “needed more space,” “didn’t want to feel confined,” “needed a garage,” or “needed a backyard.”

I didn’t need any of that.

I have zero interest in mowing and keeping up a yard. And I barely have any friends, much less those who will spend the night, so no guest room needed!

I just want and need my own small space. So I opted for a one-bedroom apartment. It was what I could afford and I bought it outright.

No mortgage, no nothing. It’s all mine. It’s tiny AF but it’s mine.

It astounds me when I see people earning $250,000 a year who can easily put away $125,000 of it. But instead of just buying a modest home outright, they buy a million-dollar home and put down the money they could have saved as their down payment. Why? Why do folks buy these unaffordable homes and take on a mortgage if they don’t have to?

I just don’t get it.

7. Get a part-time gig to supplement income.

Until very recently, this has never quite worked out for me.

During my doctoral years (which I started much later in life), I only had a part-time gig. Afterward, I landed a full-time gig and even though I looked hard for a part-time gig to supplement my income, that never happened.

In recent years, I’ve been able to get a part-time gig that allows me to travel, although I do pay a substantial part of the money toward the travels myself. But I get to travel and get some of the expenses paid off. Not too shabby, eh? I could do worse!

I’d love to do more. So, I continue to search.

You should try this, if you can. Look for something that can bring in a little bit of extra cash. If push comes to shove, it can be there to tide you over the bad times.

8. Buy property just for rental purposes.

I know, I know—I always talk about how middle-class I am. And in a world where it’s tough enough to buy the first house, who the f*ck has money for a rental property? Be honest, you just rolled your eyes as you read this part, right? I get it! I totally get it.

But here’s the thing…

While I have friends and peers who are still paying off their primary residential property, there are others within the middle-class circle who have been able to add that extra piece of property. What I’ve noticed with the latter is that their primary residence is small(er) than others in our circle. They also usually live in the not-so-happening part of town. So their money goes further than others.

That’s really worth looking into. If you can shift to a lesser-known but upcoming location, that can help. Those properties are usually cheaper and you can pay them off earlier than you probably anticipate. That then leaves you with the option to invest in a rental, whether for full-time purposes or short-term rentals (think AirBnB), but it’s something to think about.

Now, this only works if you’ve purchased your primary property—the place that serves as your home—and if it is completely paid off. Then you can start thinking about buying a second one.

9. Save ahead for medical concerns.

None of us, unfortunately, get young. (Unless, of course, you happen to be Brad Pitt or Jennifer Aniston and you are bitten by the forever young gene.)

For the rest of us, the story is the same. We get old, we get weak, and we must take care of our health. And to do that, we need money.

Until recently, I never worked in a place long enough to get company healthcare. So I always took care of my own healthcare needs.

In India, those of us who do not have coverage from work can get medical insurance through a government-funded organization called United Indian Insurance and get a Mediclaim policy. Even if I work abroad for short spurts of time, I always have my Mediclaim policy renewed. And as I get older, I make sure to increase my coverage depending on what’s allowed and how much I can afford.

Since my Mediclaim policy comes up for renewal in October, I put away a fixed sum of money every month. Or if I get a lump sum amount of money during the year, it goes toward my Mediclaim premium fund, which is due once a year.

When I plan ahead this way, I’m not too shocked when I get the bill for the premium.

10. Always think about the concept of financial security.

This is such an open-ended and vague term. Financial security means different things for different people.

At different stages of my life, the phrase financial security has meant different things to me. In fact, I’m going to spend an entire article down the road exploring this. My plan is to talk to different folks and get their take on this. (Feel free to drop me a line if you want share your thoughts on this).

For me, it started with wanting and needing enough money in my bank to tide me over any potential financial crises. Then it was owning my own home. Then it was paying off the mortgage ASAP. Then having enough to retire tomorrow if I wanted (which isn’t going to happen for me anytime soon). Then having enough money and medical insurance for myself and my near and dear ones.

The list goes on and on.

But I have always, always had this phrase at the back of my mind. And because of that, I’ve never taken money lightly.

I’ve had a target that I placed on my own back, and worked and continue to work hard toward attaining financial security, even as my self-placed goalposts constantly keep shifting and getting further away as I get older.

But I think about it all the time and I think being in that frame of mind helps us achieve, or get closer to achieving, our money goals.

I hope these tips gave you some food for thought. As always, feel free to hit me up if you have something more to add or if you think I missed something.

Save money! Find mental peace!


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