ATA Magazine

Money matters

Financial wellness is part of your overall well-being

Women seated at lap top celebrating what she sees, dollar sign graphics are imposed over photo

High inflation has pushed the cost of basic necessities such as groceries and gas to a point where they feel like luxuries, and Alberta teachers are not immune to feeling the pinch. As household budgets are being stretched to the breaking point, teachers may be finding it more difficult to plan for unexpected expenses. Financial anxiety is one of the most common major stressors. Chronic stress can negatively affect our health, relationships and overall feeling of well-being.

What is financial wellness?

Financial wellness is founded on good financial literacy and hygiene, but that is not the entire picture. If you are prepared to deal with a financial emergency, regulating your debt, understanding your cash flow and future-proofing your finances, you are engaged in good practice. However, financial wellness does not simply equate to having “enough” money and knowing how to manage it. Financial wellness supersedes financial literacy and hygiene because financial wellness recognizes that money is not an end goal; rather, money is a means to live our happiest, healthiest, best lives.

Money is a token of your life’s energy. You earn money with the expenditure of your life’s energy and exchange it for goods and services. How you manage, invest and spend your money not only governs your finances but also messages what your life’s energy is worth.

If you are failing to plan, you are planning to fail

Financial planning is life planning and is a critical mechanism for self-care as it impacts every other aspect of your life. Your financial well-being is created when you can identify what is ultimately important in your life and how you can effectively achieve your goals.

You need to budget your joy

A budget regulates how you spend your life’s energy. Budgeting your money based on what does and does not bring you joy will reduce stress that comes with spending money and allow you to prioritize experiences that you truly love. While it is important to create a budget, including a financial check-in as part of your weekly routine will make you more aware of how your money is being spent and help you feel more in control of your finances.

Invest in yourself by prioritizing savings

It can be difficult to save money when you feel like you are just getting by, but it is important to make saving a priority. Payroll deductions may be available through your employer, but you can easily set up automatic transfers from your chequing account to your savings account so that you are not tempted to spend the money instead. Check out Capital Estate savings plans

Education is the key

Improving your financial literacy can take away a lot of stress. The ATA’s Teacher Employment Services program area has many opportunities to continue your learning.

You might be surprised to hear that the end goal of financial wellness is not actually to have a lot of money; rather, it is to spend a lot of money throughout your life so you will be as happy and healthy as possible. Financial wellness goes beyond saving and investing; it addresses money both as a universal stressor and a mechanism to achieve the life to which we aspire. 

Recommended financial reading list

The following books are available from the ATA library

  • Hallam, A. 2017. Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School. Toronto, ON: Wiley.
  • Harzog, B.B., M. Curphey, E. Lunn, J. Meadway, P. Parker and A. Black. 2017. How Money Works: The Facts Visually Explained. New York, NY: DK Publishing.
  • Kelly, E.S. 2021. Get the Hell Out of Debt: The Proven 3-Phase Method That Will Radically Shift Your Relationship to Money. New York, NY: Post Hill Press.
  • Kobliner, B. 2017. Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
  • Nichols, E. 2016. Financial Planning for Teachers: The Lesson Plan for Your Financial Future. Pottstown, PA: EWS Communications.
  • Sokunbi, B. 2019. Clever Girl Finance: Ditch Debt, Save Money and Build Real Wealth.  Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
  • Wiginton, F. 2012. How to Eat an Elephant: Achieving Financial Success One Bite at a Time. Toronto, ON: Wiley.

Upcoming workshops

Financial Wellness+

Save your money, invest your money, budget your money! How do I do all that!?

Financial Wellness+ is all about investing for your future, learning how to save, and managing debt and your budget. Join us for this two-hour session;
it’s a deep dive into financial wellness and your future!

Oct. 27, 2022
3:30 pm to 5:30 pm

May 3, 2023
3:30 pm to 5:30 pm

ATA Q&A sessions

Jan. 12, 2023
3:45 pm to 4:45 pm

March 16, 2023
3:45 pm to 4:45 pm

Read more

View the entire digital issue of the ATA Magazine

See the latest issue