Economic Wellness

I am attending the Veterinary Study Groups Congress, a biennial CE and networking event for Veterinary Management Group members.  As always, the board has selected excellent speakers on timely topics.   

Economic wellness, a concept I have never heard articulated, was mentioned this morning.  We are all aware of the need for physical wellness and mental wellness by name.  Even though business is my business, I have not thought about the concept of economic wellness. 

Like it or not, if you are a practicing veterinarian, owner, or associate, you are involved in a business.  We know the basics of physical wellness and most of us are learning the basics of mental wellness.  Economic wellness is the economic condition in which you and your family are financially comfortable and able to be optimistic about your future.  To achieve economic wellness, the first step has to be financial literacy.  Think back to the first day of anatomy in veterinary school.  We all began learning an entire new language to achieve anatomic literacy.  Many of us secretly thought it might just be impossible but we didn’t day it aloud. 

Fortunately, financial literacy, is much easier to achieve than anatomic literacy.  Until there is a single comprehensive source of economic literacy training, I refer people to web based platforms such as BBT’s.

BBT offers some great steps to follow in building your economic literacy.  Here are five basic action plan steps that BBT suggests:

1.Be as informed as you can be about your finances. After all, you are the one who is going to have to live with your decisions.

2.Try to find a financial institution or financial advisor that is knowledgeable, that you can trust, and with whom you can work comfortably. They cannot make all your decisions, but they should be able to help you put your situation into perspective and help you evaluate your options.

3.Try to develop good financial habits. Just paying attention to how you spend your money will probably lead to some ideas about how to save more. Over time, your savings can make a large difference in your future financial lifestyle.

4.Do the easy things. Participating in your company’s retirement plan, contributing to an IRA, starting to save early for a college education, enrolling for direct deposit of your paycheck, and using some form of automatic saving plan will help you accumulate funds. In addition, you will know you are taking positive actions.

5.Try to develop a financial plan of some sort. It does not have to be complicated or extensive. In fact, you may want to tackle one part of your finances at a time, such as looking at all your insurance needs. Breaking up a financial plan into smaller, workable pieces can make it easier to create.

Most of us feel more confident once we have a plan.  Perhaps this 5-step action plan will get you started!

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