Find Your Flow & Live Well

It All Begins With You

During our formative years we begin to accumulate knowledge and expectations from our relatives and friends. In the beginning there’s not much to compare it to or experience to know whether the information is valuable or not. As we begin to establish our own identity and independence it becomes our responsibility to seek out and define the life we want to live. It takes time to find your flow and live your best life now.

As you begin to define the life you want to pursue, you will also learn to balance where you are in your journey with what resources you have access to. The four pillars of being independent include Shelter, Nutrition, Wellbeing and Commuting. Focus on finding your flow in these four areas before adding any other commitments. Learn to expend no more than 70% of your earnings on these four basic needs. The less you spend the more you have left to save, invest and enjoy.

From Finding Shelter to Making a Home

In your first few years of becoming independent, a stable shelter usually takes precedence over seeking out the perfect home. Nevertheless, it’s a great opportunity to learn about what home means to you and what your ideal place will look like one day.

Privacy matters. Pay attention to how you feel living with other people and sharing common spaces. Think about where you are willing to compromise and where you won’t. Feeling safe and being able to relax is incredibly important for your long term wellbeing, both physical and mental. When you don’t feel safe or unable to disconnect for awhile, it begins to affect your quality of life.

Location matters. Be mindful of the environment that brings out the best in you. Consider the level of noise, colors, textures, light, nature and access to resources within walking distance. What adds value to your living space and what brings you down? Imagine what a better/best/perfect home looks like based on your goals.

Learn to Fuel Your Body and Brain

One of the greatest privileges of becoming independent is choosing what you eat. Food is social and emotional. Certain flavors, aromas and spices will become your favorites. Local eating places will begin to represent friendly gatherings and those memories will stick with you. Treasure your freedom to purchase, create and share delicious meals when you can.

Nutrition defines your strength and endurance for the long haul. Take time to experiment and learn how your body processes different foods. Protein and vitamins come from a multitude of sources. Figure out what fuels your body and brain the best. Be mindful that your body is continuously building new cells and new blood. You define how your body feels and functions every day.

Gift Yourself with Care and Wellbeing

At the end of the day, only you can decide how you will care and maintain your health. There’s definitely a lot to learn about how each organ functions, healthy ranges of different metrics and overall best practices in general health care. First and foremost learn everything you can to avoid illness and injuries. Know your physical and mental limits.

By the age of 30, at the latest, you need to have a full physical with lab work to identify your base numbers. That includes things like blood pressure, sugar levels, cholesterol and a multitude of other measurements. By having a base, you and your care provider can spot changes and monitor as needed. Take time to know yourself.

Health and wellbeing is much more than signing up for a medical plan. It means seeking out regular screenings, exams and taking advantage of the resources available through pharmacies or local mini clinics. Do some research to learn more about what is available in your community, school or workplace. Did you know that many universities offer Medical and Dental services for their communities?

Find ways to incorporate physical activity in your routines. Movement is essential to keeping your heart and lungs healthy. There are a multitude of mobile apps to coach, inspire and track your physical activity. Challenge yourself to stretch, get stronger and try something new each year.

Getting Around without Breaking the Bank

To commute or not, that is an important question to consider. Living within walking distance of where you work means you have more cash flow to direct towards other needs, wants and goals. On the other hand, that may not be an option or preference for you. Before you make your next move, house or job, take time to think through the impact this will have on living the life you want.

Another thing to consider is how many different options you have available to get around. From bikes to buses and trains – there’s a wide range of options that may offer more freedom at a lower cost. Again it all comes down to what matters most to you. Find your flow. Find what helps you live your best life right now with what you have.

Ready to take the next step?

Check out Financial Wellness 101 – The Ultimate Financial Handbook for Young Professionals. We also offer 1:1 Financial Coaching to help you create a clear roadmap to improve financial wellness.

Finding Financial Zen in 2021

We’re Here to Simplify Personal Finance

Our goal from the very beginning has been to reduce the chaos and noise around personal financial management. We are on a mission to provide clear insights on improving financial wellness. We define financial wellness as living life in such a way that your personal values and priorities are fully realized. This happens when you optimize all of the resources available to meet your current and ongoing needs. Resources can come from nature, labor, capital or technology.

Personal financial growth comes from self-awareness and self-evaluation. When you identify what matters most, you will have a clearer vision of the life you want to live. This is a continuous process as you learn new skills and access new resources. Life is a journey of exploration, discovery and experiences.

Financial Wellness 101

We believe that building a solid financial foundation is like building a home. Financial wellness begins with gaining a solid grasp on managing your day to day finances. It takes time to find your flow and develop healthy financial habits. There are a lot of moving parts to track and evaluate. It can feel a bit overwhelming at times.

Over the past few months we have been busy creating a self-paced course to help you find Financial Zen in 2021. In February we launched the Financial Wellness Academy on Our first course is called “Financial Wellness 101: The Five Stages of Building a Solid Financial Foundation“. It is a self-paced course that runs about 60 minutes long and is divided into 6 distinct sections: Financial Wellness, Manage, Protect, Borrow, Grow and Gift.

The Financial Zen Community

We believe that life doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Every day we face internal and external circumstances that impact our financial health. That’s where community can make a difference. When we normalize financial struggles and questions by sharing our journey with others, together we become stronger and more resilient. Today we also launched The Financial Zen Community group on Facebook. We would love for you to be a part of this closed group! Just send us a message to receive an invitation to join.

The Financial Health Tracker

One of the most valuable tools we are working on is the Financial Health Tracker. By answering a few quick questions about your current financial profile, you can discover your Financial Health Score. Your score reflects a compilation of your financial strengths and potential risks. Your results include a downloadable PDF summary with personalized action steps just for you. Our automated version of the Financial Health Tracker will be available by the end of March 2021. Stay tuned!

We’ve been working hard to create valuable content and tools to help you build a life you love. Your feedback and comments help us stay on the right track, because our mission is to provide customer-driven financial resources. Let us know what you want us to cover.

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Is Your Cash-flow Stretched Too Tight?

Let’s be real. We’ve all been through seasons when we find ourselves strapped for cash. There just isn’t quite enough to cover everything. It can be incredibly debilitating and scary. Even if you haven’t experienced a dry season yet, it’s important to have a plan of action to work through it.

These seasons of financial scarcity or drought can be good opportunities for self-reflection and evaluation. Hardships help remind us of what we truly value and treasure. When you find yourself strapped for cash, you may notice that you become more intentional and purposeful about your money. Seize the moment to clarify your goals and dreams.

Survive and Thrive

First, it’s important to understand that money has a flow of it’s own. Money (think, money managers) reacts to daily events and conditions, just like the weather or the tide. Income is influenced by the financial strength of a company, as well as consumer spending. Income fluctuates based on the ebbs and flows of the world around you. Expenses vary as well. It reflects the demand and supply costs for each vendor, city or country. Nothing is set in stone.

Second, it’s important to understand your own bias towards money. On the one hand, many folks have a fear of never having enough money. This leads to buying more than they actually need out of fear that they won’t be able to later. In other words, do everything now when you have cash in hand. On the other hand, many folks over-estimate what they can afford. They make assumptions that their income will grow exponentially each year and make buying decisions based on that.

Be realistic – set aside time to create a spreadsheet with every account you have, both financial accounts and expense accounts.

Align your money with your values – identify the purpose and function for each account and expense you have. What does each one have to do with accomplishing your goals and dreams?

Clean your Financial House – begin to eliminate and cut back on those expenses that do not align with your goals. Especially during lean times, focus on protecting the essentials – a safe shelter, healthy nutrition and strong relationships.

Care for your wellbeing – be honest about the things that you really need. Find ways to replace expenses with similar experiences that are free or have a low cost. Remember that you can add things back later when your cashflow improves. Financial droughts don’t last forever.

Invest in yourself first and foremost – unless you are well, strong and self-sufficient, you won’t be able to have the impact you want to have. Focus on learning skills, best practices and building healthy financial habits so you can survive and thrive in all seasons of life.

Grow Stronger

Schedule a free 15-minute coaching session to learn more about our 1:1 Financial Zen Coaching program. We provide positive, practical guidance to improve financial wellness. Let us know how we can help you build financial flexibility at

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Manage Your Money Well

One of the biggest challenges in life is learning to manage money well. If the foundation of your financial strategy is unstable, then everything you build is at risk of collapsing. In order to eliminate financial stress, it is critical to develop healthy financial habits and behaviors. Money management is the first and most important stage in building a strong financial foundation.

Managing money well means building routines that optimize your cash-flow from day to day. It means you are able meet current needs, as you prepare for future needs and emergencies. Let’s dig deeper and explore what it looks like to actively balance financial ebbs and flows.

Always Cover the Basics

It is a well-known fact that when our basic needs are not met or at risk of not being met, our whole focus shifts to survival mode. Stress and anxiety prevent individuals from being at their best physically, emotionally and mentally. It significantly impacts relationships, productivity and long-term wellbeing. Cover your basic needs and be prepared for short-term disruptions.

Where to begin:

  • Shelter – plan to allocate no more than 30% of your income towards housing (includes utilities, maintenance, taxes, insurance and furnishings)
  • Rent/Mortgage – choose an amount you can afford on your own. If you need a roommate, quickly build up savings to cover any potential future gaps (they can’t pay, they move out or you need to move out)
  • Essentials – be aware of your monthly costs, learn how to make your space more energy efficient and safe
  • Maintenance/Repairs – labor is expensive. Learn how to do minor repairs and care for your appliances/fixtures/property. Replace air filters on a regular basis and keep extra batteries, light bulbs on hand
  • Food – keep dry goods and frozen foods in stock. Beans, rice, noodles, dried fruits, nuts, potatoes, carrots and onions are nutritious staples to have on hand. When vegetables are in season, freeze small portions to use for future meals
  • Housekeeping – regular weekly cleaning routines help reduce illness and clutter. Keep white vinegar and baking soda on hand – these two ingredients can clean sinks, drains, metal fixtures, shower heads, hard water stains and so much more

Stay Within Your Limits

Another critical financial habit to develop is knowing your limits. At any given time you should be able to calculate how much money you have, how much you need to cover the basics and how much is needed for other obligations. You can use simple tools like a calendar, journal or spreadsheets to track your on-going cash-flow. Manage your money well by keeping a healthy balance between income and expenses.

Where to begin:

  • Living Expense Ratio – add up your total recurring costs that you are responsible for each month (housing, loans, transportation, food, insurance, etc) and divide that by your monthly income. Strive to keep it below 70%
  • Financial Commitments – carefully track recurring expenses like subscriptions, memberships, clubs, streaming, supplies, etc. Do they align with your long term goals? What low or no-cost alternatives are available?
  • Debt-to-Income Limit – add up your total minimum monthly payments on any loans and divide by your monthly income. Strive to keep it below 40%. This should include your housing payment (rent/mortgage). In order to qualify for a mortgage, it must be less than 40% with the new mortgage payment added.
  • Alerts/Notifications – take advantage of online banking tools to notify you about account activity and balances. Set up automated reminders for bills, maintenance, doctor visits, etc.

Put Your True Self First

Once you develop consistent financial habits, you’ll find that the less of your income you spend means the more you have to invest in your own goals and aspirations. That’s where each person has to find their own balance. When you manage your money well, it’s like directing traffic. You decide where each dollar goes and why.

You Are Not Alone

We created My Financial Zen to build a safe and supportive community where members can learn, grow and share their unique financial wellness journey. We invite you to subscribe to our blog, complete the Financial Health Assessment, schedule a Free Coaching Session or send us an email with your questions.

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How to Track Everything (Financial Wellness Quickstart)

Have you ever noticed that meaningful change requires your full attention? If you want to eat healthier, you track nutrients, sugar and calories. If you want to improve your knowledge, you take tests or assessments to gauge your skills. Whatever it is that you want to improve, it has to be measured. There is a starting point of where you are today and a future point of where you want to be.


Over-confidence and minor exaggerations are both rewarded in our culture. The idea has some merit but causes unrealistic expectations. If you believe that you are smarter, stronger and better well-off than you really are, it will be challenging to be fully self-aware.

Be honest with yourself about how much you actually earn and where your money goes. Keep it simple and count what you control. Don’t fudge the numbers to make them look better. Don’t make any drastic changes. Take an honest assessment of your money habits for a full 30 days.

  • write everything down – money in and out
  • provide some context – why, where, with whom, when
  • add a category tag
  • add source of funds – cash, credit, reward points, bank account

Your Money at a Glance

Once you’ve tracked your cash flow for at least 30 days, it’s time to assess your numbers. This should give you a good summary of not only where your money is going, but also provide insights into all of the circumstances that influence your financial decisions. Emotions play a big part in what we do every day.

As you look back over your notes, make it easier to organize your financial activity by using different colors or symbols. For example, draw a little house next to everything associated with housing or highlight it orange. Don’t try to force things into a category. Some things may fit more than one category, like travel and food. You can create subcategories to be even more detailed.

  • add up the total amount allocated to each category
  • look for patterns – time of day, how you were feeling, who you were with
  • think about how you can plan ahead to prepare for unexpected changes in your routines

Be Intentional

It can be super uncomfortable to face our financial habits. Once you do take the first step to become self-aware, it opens space for you to become more intentional about your daily financial choices. Track everything as long as you can.

After completing the first 30 days of tracking your money, think about how each category aligns with your personal values and goals. Celebrate the activities and choices that are in line with the life you want to live. Keep doing the things that are helping you reach your goals. Find ways to do more of what is meaningful and rewarding by eliminating things that aren’t that important for you.

There is a time and season for different priorities in life. Define what is most important to your life right now. Create a plan with realistic steps to get you to where you want to be next. Tomorrow is not guaranteed to anyone, so care for yourself and treasure the moments with those that matter most to you.

Now it’s Your Turn to Take Action

If you are feeling overwhelmed or confused about managing your financial health, I encourage you to take our free Financial Health Assessment and schedule a free 30-minute Financial Coaching session to review your results. Learn what you should be tracking to reach your goals.