The Financial Wellbeing Forum was created by Clare Seal, and is a place for honest, emotionally intelligent conversation and information about money. It’s an off-shoot from Clare’s wildly popular Instagram page, @myfrugalyear, which has an army of fans who appreciate her honest, insightful and thought-provoking posts – many of which chronical her own relationship with money, as well as her journey of clearing £27k worth of debt. She’s on a mission to break down debt-related stigma and The Financial Wellbeing Forum is just one of her generous offerings (shes also written two books: Real Life Money and The Real Life Money Journal).
I’m a long-time follower of Clare and she’s prompted me to examine my own financial wellbeing, particularly my emotional spending habits. She’s vocal, and brutally honest, about a topic that many – myself included – are often reluctant to talk about. Even if you don’t think you need to fix your relationship with money, I’d enthusiastically suggest that you explore The Financial Wellbeing Forum and Clare’s page @myfrugalyear.
Clare’s been kind enough to answer a few of my questions so as to enable you to better understand what The Financial Wellbeing Forum is. She also shares some of her hard-earned wisdom.
Could you tell me a little bit about the mission of The Financial Wellbeing Forum? Who does it speak to? In what ways are you hoping that people will benefit from it?
I set up The Financial Wellbeing Forum, really, because I felt there was a lack of honest, judgement-free, emotionally intelligent conversation about money. I wanted to create a place where the messy stuff – debt, emotional spending, money mistakes, etc. – was allowed. I’m really hoping that people discover the support and understanding they they need to actually fix their relationship with money, and to thrive. Our content series, Finding Financial Wellbeing When…, also serves to acknowledge and address the external factors in our relationship with money.
Could you share a nugget of wisdom about financial wellbeing – perhaps something you’ve learned from your own journey?
I think the thing that I found most suprising is that financial wellbeing isn’t always proportinal to how much money you have. I felt a sense of financial wellbeing quite a while before I actually finished paying off my debt. For me, it was about feeling in control, having a plan, spending mindfully and forgiving myself for my past mistakes. It wasn’t a certain figure on my bank statement.
What would you say to someone who was just beginning to understand and explore the impact of their emotions on their financial health?
The first thing I’d recommend is to write it all down. Either log your spending decisions and give them some context around how you’re feeling at the time or, if you can bear it, have a look through a few months worth of bank statements and try to think about the circumstances around each purchase. This will really help you to start understanding your relationship with money, identify any potential spending triggers, etc.
This post was written by Iris Brannan, with contributions from Clare Seal.