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Out with the Budget; In with Alignment

Posted By Brent Hines, Friday, October 12, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Shame, guilt and judgment are liars and I suggest we kick them out of here. Would you rather I try to shame you into living off a budget, or would you rather we have a two-way conversation about aligning your personal values, mission and vision? Yeah, me too.

Pulling money from your emergency cash reserves should feel terrible, agonizing, and cause loss of sleep.

Budgeting, debt elimination, and emergency cash are all foundational. However, it seems everything we’ve heard from the talking heads on this topic falls in the “How” and “What” categories and runs right past the “Why” (thank you Simon Sinek for this vernacular). The alignment of our thoughts and behaviors with our values is the nearly magical place where lives are carried out with purpose and intentionality. Once we find this untapped power source, the budget, debt elimination and emergency cash will happen. And get this…you’re going to like it. You’re going to demand it! It’s no longer a best practice or principle, it’s a way of being that comes from your most meaningful reasons. Way back when, gold old Zig Ziglar said it beautifully when he said, “You can tell a lot about a man’s heart by looking at his calendar and his checkbook.” Where does your heart live? Where is it aimed? Zig also taught us that if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.

There are endless budget templates, software and ideas on how it should be built. We have our favorites at the Foundation for Financial Wellness, but whichever you decide to use, it must be a zero-sum budget. Meaning, you must “spend” every dollar on paper before the money hits your account. Dave Ramsey tells his readers to “Tell every dollar where to go, rather than wondering where it went”.

Debt elimination is a really interesting, (and unfortunately all too common) topic. We teach two types of approaches; 1) Mathematical approach, and 2) Behavioral approach. The mathematical approach would have you pay off your debt in order of highest interest rate (most expensive) to lowest. This is logical. The behavioral approach has you pay off your debt in order of smallest balance to largest balance. This is emotional. The emotional brain gets the chemical release quickly by knocking out the smallest first, then builds momentum by rolling those payments into the next debt item, and so on.

The vast percentage of people we have taught through the years prefer the behavioral approach, and for good reason. The best approach is the one you complete! Not to mention, it was emotion, not logic that got you into the consumer debt, so likely, it will be the power of the emotional brain that gets you out.

Finally, the third component of the financial trifecta, emergency cash. Nothing sexy about it. But then again, there’s nothing sexy about an Ambien either, and it’s debatable which one helps you sleep better at night.


1. Busting budget myths!

 Make a point this week to get real, call out and write down your own personal self-limiting scripts. Then, write down an empowering belief to replace each one. Be sure to share these with someone who cares about you. Here are just a few examples to get the juices flowing…

  • “Budgeting means being deprived and uncomfortable.”
  • “I make enough money to pay my expenses so I don’t need a budget.”
  • “This will take too much of my time to maintain. I have better things to do.”
  • “I’m comfortable with my current spending habits.”
  • “I’ve tried this and never stick to it anyway so why bother.”


2. Gate check your pride

 This flight is bound for freedom! Gate check your pride and take care of business. Start selling “stuff”! Seriously, sell all that junk!! Apply it to your debt elimination plan. Stop pretending and get real. If that makes you uncomfortable, then you’re really not going to like this one. Get a second, or third, job! I know you already work hard. So what? Are you going to choose to be, a “Victim” or “Owner” of your current situation? Sorry, nothing but tough love here my friend. If you want sugar cookies and tea, call your grandma. I know…I know, it’s probably a bit much, but this is serious. This is your future, your life, your financial freedom. Why am I more fired up about your life than you are?!


3. Define and commit to your new “zero”

 Define it. Calculate it. Protect it. It’s that simple.

  • Define what an emergency is before it happens. Meaning, it looks a lot more like a hot water heater going out than it does a new flat screen the week prior to the Super Bowl. You decide.
  • Calculate your minimum emergency cash reserve balance. There is a really simple rule of thumb for this. Go to your budget and determine which of the line items are “non-negotiable”. They must get paid even if your income went away. Then, multiply that number by at least 3. The reason for this is because most long-term disability policies have an “eligibility period” of 3 months (more on this later, so just trust me for now).
  • Protect it means not putting it at risk. Market risk, liquidity risk, default risk…no risk! So, basically this means putting it in a checking, savings or money market account that is preferably just out of arms reach from your sweaty little fingers! Pulling money from your emergency cash reserves should feel terrible, agonizing, and cause loss of sleep. This dollar amount of emergency cash is your new “$0.”

National Wellness Institute + Foundation for Financial Wellness

The National Wellness Institute has partnered with the Foundation for Financial Wellness (FFW) to develop financial wellness trainings.

Brent HinesBrent Hines, CFWE, CFWC is the founder and Chairman of the educational non-profit, Foundation for Financial Wellness. The Foundation’s mission is to improve people’s lives by empowering them with the knowledge and the motivation to take control of their financial lives. The Foundation’s curriculum is rooted in the principles of Behavioral Finance which makes every class topic taught by the Foundation unique, innovative and extremely valuable.

Tags:  Education  Finance  Financial Wellness 

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Financial Well-being — No one is coming!

Posted By Brent Hines, Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Financial wellness is different than just financial education.No one is coming. No white knight, no silver bullet, no bail out. This is up to each of us to get right, and our lives and legacies depend upon it.

Financial wellness and financial education are two very different things. Financial wellness is based in behavioral science, adult learning theory and even in the neuroscience of improving our odds of higher performance in the financial component of this game called life.

We all want to have the tools, tactics and techniques to obtain financial well-being. But first, we need to take a step back and acknowledge that it is the doing, or better known as the behavior, that is the engine that drives our success. And, if we want to understand what fuels those behaviors, we must take one more step back and unpack our thoughts, beliefs and assumptions around money; in other words, how we are being.

This is partially why financial wellness is different than just financial education. The formula for success is more than only having the head knowledge, facts and figures. It must include the healthiest behaviors along with the empowering beliefs.

And, it’s this powerful concept of aiming how we are being that makes the financial wellness so special., and rarely understood, much less harnessed. The behavioral scientists refer to these beliefs as “scripts, tapes, or records” and the crazy part is that the vast majority were given to us by authoritative figures from the earliest years in our lives. That’s right, it’s not our fault! We were taught all of this head trash!

So, let’s make a deal. For the remainder of the time you spend with me in these writings, we agree that you’re going to leave Mom in the car…crack the windows, give her a bottle of water; she’ll be fine.

Poor Mom! OK, just kidding about Mom, but serious about the self-limiting beliefs from the authoritative figures from our youth!


1. Could our most powerful strength also be our biggest barrier?

 Let's take a look at how we think each and every day. Scientists estimate that the average person has 50,000 to 60,000 thoughts a day. The brain essentially wants to be as efficient as possible, so it repeats many of the same thinking processes again and again, rather than taking the effort and energy to carve out new types of thought pathways. About 90% of the thought pathways we have built, we use again. These are very efficient and repetitive. 

What science has learned is that unfortunately 70% to 85% of these repetitive thoughts are negative or have a negative connotation. If we're repeating the same thoughts many, many times a day and many of those thoughts have a negative bias, you can see how our thinking may in fact be tripping us up.


2. Who exactly are you trying to convince?

 Larry Burkett famously said, “We buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like.”. Fear and pride are real things and play into our behavioral decision making each and every. What are some ideas that you might implement to counter some of your most common financial soothing mechanisms?


3. Take the helm; this is your ship.

 You’re worried about some things, and we get it…you’re not alone.  We have all faced financial distress…no matter how much money we have, our career choice or what stage of life we happen to be in. To give just a few examples which reflect American workers: The American Psychological Association’s survey on stress determined that 72% of American adults are stressed about money, at least some of the time and 26% are stressed about money most or all of the time. And factors like being female or being a parent increases the likelihood that you feel stress around money. 

In a separate report, it was found that 60% of American workers distress over financial issues impacts their ability to focus at work and has caused 1 in 3 of us to miss or be late for work because of their financial situation.

Money impacts every single area of our lives, with our work, our families and that stress certainly isn’t doing our health any favors.  So, how do we fix it?  Well it starts with our thinking.  So much so, that much of our lives are pre-occupied with negative thoughts about money.  And by allowing those thoughts to exist, we allow no space for creating solutions.  

Please don’t misunderstand, financial wellness is not some mumbo-jumbo, positive self-talk solution…instead it’s about real life, practical application that you can implement right away.  

Remember, financial wellness isn’t just about education, it’s about taking action…and sometimes that action is simply making a decision. Oftentimes, the first decision is what we chose to think or believe about money, which will then create healthier financial behaviors.

National Wellness Institute + Foundation for Financial Wellness

The National Wellness Institute has partnered with the Foundation for Financial Wellness (FFW) to develop financial wellness trainings.

Brent HinesBrent Hines, CFWE, CFWC is the founder and Chairman of the educational non-profit, Foundation for Financial Wellness. The Foundation’s mission is to improve people’s lives by empowering them with the knowledge and the motivation to take control of their financial lives. The Foundation’s curriculum is rooted in the principles of Behavioral Finance which makes every class topic taught by the Foundation unique, innovative and extremely valuable.

Tags:  Education  Finance  Financial Wellness 

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Have You Consulted a Chest Physiotherapist Yet?

Posted By Dr. Samana Sayed, Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Updated: Monday, October 8, 2018

Cardiopulmonary physiotherapy, or “chest physiotherapy” has drawn much attention, and has helped many patients with heart and lung diseases. Chest physiotherapy is an area of physiotherapy that specializes in the prevention, rehabilitation, and maintenance of patients with diseases and injuries in the heart and lungs. It helps patients in the treatment of: 

  • shortness of breath
  • persistent cough, clearing lungs
  • increased work of breathing 
  • the reduced ability to exercise or do daily activities caused due to diseases like asthma, bronchitis, COPD, lung fibrosis, lung injuries, before and after lung and heart surgeries, etc…
  • improves Quality of Life

Chest physiotherapy helps patients to get back to their daily and occupational activities. It is an integral part of the medical team for the patients admitted in the ICU on ventilators with various diseases. These physiotherapists help the patients from when they arrive in the ICU to when they get back to their normal activities and occupation. Chest physiotherapists have dispelled the myth that patients with heart diseases, asthma, or any other lung disorders cannot live a normal life, play sports, or pursue general activities. 

You may be surprised to learn that you can strengthen your lungs and heart in much the same way you strengthen the various of the body. It’s amazing to know that you can do “weight and resistance” training for your lungs and heart muscles also — safely under the continuous monitoring and supervision of a Cardiopulmonary Physiotherapist. They not only help you to improve your condition, but also assess your daily activities and help you to modify your lifestyle to maintain progress. In addition to patients with major diseases, patients with breathing difficulties from unknown causes can also be benefited with chest rehabilitation. 


What if you don’t have any disease and still you feel breathless?

Many times, bad posture can pressurize or compress your lungs. Sometimes a person’s job pattern and daily activity may lead to weakness of your breathing muscles. A physiotherapist has expertise in assessing these types of issues, commonly found in school kids, housewives, computer users, those with scoliosis. etc. Correcting and strengthening posture with targeted exercises, stretches, and strength training of respiratory muscles can help patients to overcome this and reduce breathing issues.  

Nowadays there is a misconception in people that breathing exercises in Yoga and physiotherapy serve the same purpose. Basic breathing patterns taught in yoga are beneficial for a person to keep the lungs healthy, but if a person is suffering from lung problems such as bronchitis, COPD, fibrosis, etc. then the wrong breathing exercises can add on to your problem. Your entire treatment protocol is planned by your chest physiotherapist according to your condition, age, lifestyle, etc.

As with all other medical branches of physiotherapy (i.e. sports injuries, neurology, and orthopedic conditions) cardiopulmonary physiotherapists are doing wonders with their patients in all age groups, from infants to seniors. They help to improve people’s quality of life and enable them to continue with their daily activities and occupations. 

Dr. Samana SayedDr. Samana Sayed is a renowned Physiotherapist working in Mumbai who has been serving patients for over five years. She is a Master in Physiotherapy (cardiopulmonary), Member of the Indian Association of Physiotherapy, Certified Manual therapist (spine and periphery), antenatal and postnatal trainer, acupuncturist, ergonomist, and a fitness advisor. She has eight years of experience as a senior consultant and department head in three renowned medical institutes in Mumbai. Dr. Sayed speaks internationally and nationally on physiotherapy and has contributed to several newspaper health columns. She has been awarded the National Youth Promising (Best Clinician) award. Visit her Facebook page or website at

Tags:  Cardiopulmonary  Heart  Heart Disease  Lung  Lung Disease  Physiotherapy 

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Health Consciousness and Resilience Training is More Than "Check the Box"

Posted By NWI, Friday, October 5, 2018
Updated: Friday, October 5, 2018

A course in resilience and stress management will not help your staff if they return to a toxic work environment. Empowered Health Consciousness is a route to addressing resiliency work in a conscious, mindful way to stimulate growth and health in the work culture, the work climate, and the work environment. Health consciousness and resilience work together.


The Roles of Resilience and Empowered Health Consciousness

Resilience is operable in a window of time; it is the “bounce back” from adversity. Health consciousness is an ongoing process. It comes before resilience, is at play during resilience, and continues after the resilience. If you are not conscious of what’s happening during the stress-inducing event, you are not going to be resilient. Being present and aware during an adverse experience enables you to learn from the difficulty, promoting a resilient response. Resilience and health consciousness work together to create a culture of awareness and learning in which people respond more positively to adversity.

Resilience vs. Health Consciousness


Resilience is about preparing for and learning from adversity.

Most of life’s problems are not sudden and overt. They are small daily irritations, or triggers, that over time cause strain and exhaustion. Most adverse incidents that occur are proceeded by these triggers.


Health Consciousness enables us to be proactively empowered to recognize the triggers before they accumulate.

Health consciousness helps us to be alert to our tolerance for the problems that arise in life, as well as when we “relapse” into unhealthy behaviors that may cause adversity, or in response to adverse circumstances. Having health consciousness skills enables us to create an environment that fosters resilience, making it far more likely that we’ll be resilient when difficulties arise.

Training for both areas reinforces the skills we can acquire for each, which supports ongoing learning, consciousness and a culture of learning and growing together. 

You can empower people in their own health consciousness, so they can make healthier choices for themselves!


Empower health consciousness in others. Register by October 24 for the next online course. Learn More at


Register Now

Tags:  Facilitator  Health Consciousness  Mental Health  Resiliency  Stress  Training 

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Why Is America’s Suicide Rate Rising?

Posted By Trevor McDonald, Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Updated: Monday, October 1, 2018

According to the Center for Disease Control, the suicide rate in the United States has increased 30% since 1999. This trend is across all social classes, genders, and ages. Sociologists and mental health professionals have wondered for nearly twenty years: why is America's suicide rate rising?

The suicide rate in the United States has increased 30% since 1999.

There are many factors at play when considering this question, but experts believe that the main reasons why we’re seeing more suicides in our country is because of increased stress, a stigma surrounding mental health disorders, increased drug and alcohol addiction, and various life crises.

Increased Stress

We are living with more stress today than ever before. The Great Recession that happened 10 years ago caused hundreds of thousands of people to lose their homes, their businesses, and their income. This caused increased stress and a marginal increase in the suicide rate at the time. But in addition, we need to look at everyday stress. We put ourselves through stressful situations both in our professional and personal relationships, which can really take a toll on our well-being.

If you feel overworked or anxious, seek help from a professional therapist, or figure out the stressors in your life and, if possible, rid yourself of them. For example, if your job has you working 60 hour weeks with work you hate, you might want to find a new job. No pay is worth your well-being and, potentially, your life. Below are also some ways to de-stress after a long day:

Stay in tune with your mind and know your limit with stress, anxiety, and responsibilities. Don’t be afraid to speak up and get help if needed.


Mental Health Disorder Stigma

It’s unclear how many reported suicide victims suffer from mental illness, but the number is likely high. It’s hard to determine this information because many people are afraid to get help or they have an undiagnosed mental health disorder, which can then exacerbate suicidal thoughts.

It’s unclear how many reported suicide victims suffer from mental illness, but the number is likely high.Although mental health is being more recognized in our society, there is still a stigma surrounding things like depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and many others. Some people think that if they have a mental health disorder, there’s “something wrong with them” or that it can be changed. For example, someone with depression might just be seen as sad and may even be told things like “just get over it.” But instead of this view, we should approach mental illness as any other physical illness. If you break your arm, you go to the doctor. No one will say “just get over it.” We know where to get the help we need for our physical ailments. But what about our mental health? Therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists are professionally trained to help address these mental health concerns. By changing this stigma surrounding mental health, we may be able to slow suicide rates and share the message that it’s okay to get help when you need it, and it’s okay to put your mental health first.


Increased Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Addiction and suicide have a very scary link. Many people who struggle with addiction also have a dual diagnosis of a mental health condition, and as we discussed above, people with mental health conditions may be more likely to commit suicide. The three are intertwined, and the stats prove it. For example, the National Alliance on Mental Health shares that “substance abuse increases the likelihood that a person will commit suicide and drugs and alcohol are the common means for committing the act of suicide.”

The National Alliance on Mental Health shares that “substance abuse increases the likelihood that a person will commit suicide and drugs and alcohol are the common means for committing the act of suicide.”There are key signs to look for if you suspect that you or someone you love is struggling with a mental illness, substance abuse, or both. Below are some red flags:

  • Distancing themselves from others or hobbies that they enjoy
  • Lack of ability to complete everyday tasks
  • Constant alcohol or drug use
  • Statements like “I don’t want to do this anymore”
  • Sudden aggressive behavior
  • Prolonged stress
  • A history of abuse

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and takes way too many lives with it. But if we understand the factors that may increase suicide rates, we can do everything possible to prevent it. We can start by removing the stigma surrounding mental illness, limiting our stress or stressful situations, and getting ourselves or our loved ones help if they are facing substance abuse.

Trevor McDonaldTrevor McDonald is a freelance writer and recovering addict and alcoholic who's been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began, he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources, addiction awareness, and general health knowledge. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.

Tags:  addiction  Mental Health  Stress  Suicide 

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