What Financial Health Means to Me – Fincon 2016

Gentle Readers,
I want to travel to FinCon this year, but it will be hard on my budget. I live on the East Coast. I’ve never even been to California at all. You know that I am working my behind off to get out of debt. My goal is to end my credit card debt by November. A cross-country flight and a few days in a hotel would definitely impact that goal negatively.  I’m trying to win my way to FinCon instead.
The brilliant planners at FinCon partnered with The Center for Financial Services Innovation for an essay contest and some lucky bloggers will receive support for traveling to San Diego if their piece on Financial Health is excellent. #FinHealthMatters!

For me, financial health is the freedom to pursue empathy and curiosity in equal measures.

I believe that radical empathy is one of the greatest traits available to humans. It increases resilience and takes you down unplanned paths. It is incredible. Even if you only ever get to the point where you can practice radical empathy on yourself, you will have gained the world.

Empathy teaches you. It grows you. It allows you to make peace and joy with the previous versions of yourself. It allows you room to grow into many new selves as you change in time with new data and situations.

Having empathy for others means that you can learn from them, too. You do not have to contain all knowledge, nor do you have to make all mistakes in order to learn and grow. Empathy for others will reveal what choices, financial and otherwise, are better for the world. Empathy will have you shoveling your elderly neighbor’s sidewalk and sit down for tea and conversation as payment. Empathy will give you a glimpse into other sides of your community. Empathy will reveal whole new worlds to you.

My other favorite character trait is curiosity. Curiosity will give you so many opportunities. You will open and walk through so many doors that you cannot imagine right now. Curiosity unbounded taught Galileo realms of science that had not yet been discovered. Curiosity led Elon Musk to create the Tesla because he wanted an option that did not require fossil fuels. Curiosity led Picasso to deconstruct the lines of the body to see deeper into color and meaning than most artists before him. Curiosity told e.e. cummings to destroy syntax to create some of the most moving poetry in the English language.

When I’m truly financially healthy, I have the time and energy to grow both of these traits. I am able to understand other perspectives and add to my knowledge and wholeness. I am able to create things that the world has never seen before. Financial health allows my mind to play and frees me to create new solutions to old problems. When I’m financially healthy, I can afford the time and money to support other people with my time and money. We all grow more whole as a result.

What does financial health mean to you?


Author: ZJ Thorne

Lesbian on the path to Financial Freedom

  • Stefan – The Millennial Budget

    This is a very interesting perspective and one I have never heard of for financial health. The typical response would be I am making a lot of money and can enjoy life without the worry of money. I think financial health means you can leave money to future generations as that is my ultimate goal. I want to provide enough money for me to fully enjoy life then have a trust for future generations to help them out (I will never give them money until this point).

    • I think leaving a trust for future generations is definitely a worthy goal. My estate plans include my beloved college and an organization I admire because I do not have any dependants.

  • Love this: “making peace with previous versions of yourself.” And curiosity is such an important trait in life! I love that you’re focusing on that and empathy.

    I think financial health is partially the destination but is mostly the journey itself. So the fact that you’re working toward big goals makes you financially healthy in a way that others who have no debt but are also not intentional about their spending or saving do not have. Keep up the great focus, and good luck winning a trip to FinCon — I’d love to meet you there! 🙂

    • I agree that financial health is largely the journey and how you choose to spend your time and money.

      I value curiosity very highly. It’s on my short lost of dating requirements. I don’t care what a person is curious about. It just has to be something.

      I hope to meet you, too! You are a wonderful part of this community.

  • I would like to go to FinCon as well but it’s not in the cards where we are down to one income at the moment.
    You have made amazing progress on your financial journey and I enjoyed reading this where you share a greater perspective on how you view financial health.
    For what it’s worth, I think you are making all of the right decisions in order to strengthen your financial picture. I have no doubt that you will make it to FinCon eventually!

    • Thank you. It’s hard to remember to step back and see my progress.

      Maybe next year for all of us.

  • Good luck, ZJ! I hope things work out for you to get to FinCon!

    • Thank you! I’ll definitely let y’all know what happens.

  • Mrs. Groovy

    I love that term “radical empathy”. I need to work on strengthening mine. FinCon will be fabulous for you and I have no doubt you will get there!

    • Thank you! I love the term, too. Hopefully I keep learning it into my habits.

  • Ooh, empathy for yourself is HARD. That’s the hardest part for me, anyway. I hope you make it to FinCon! I already have our fake mustaches ready to go. Not kidding, I was at the grocery store the other day and they had fake mustaches, so I figured I had to get them. No pressure, but if you can make it, I’ve got your disguise ready.

    • I will gladly wear that mustache! Self empathy is definitely a journey.

  • Julie@ChooseBetterLife

    Good luck! Empathy is invaluable, and some people definitely have more than others. It would be interesting to correlate stress and security in one’s own life with the level of empathy one has. I think that the safer you feel, the easier it is to care about others because you’re less worried about the wolf at the door.

    • I think there is absolutely more room for empathy when you feel safe and secure. I was not raised with that and have been learning it as an adult.

  • AbigailP

    Forgiving yourself, which I assume is what you mean by “radical empathy for yourself,” is one of the hardest things you can do. Well, for people who aren’t sociopaths…

    Once our finances stabilize a bit (ha), I definitely need to look into helping others a bit more. We’ve been too busy putting out our own fires to help much.

    Hope I see you at FinCon!

    • I really do think forgiving yourself for previous wrongs (to yourself and others) makes a great difference. Especially if you allow the space in your mind that the shame or regret held to grow into something good.

      It is so important to put on your own mask first.

      I hope so, too! We’ll know soon. Thanks for reading!

  • Financial Slacker

    Good luck making it to FinCon. San Diego is a great place to hold a conference. Since you haven’t been there before, try taking a day trip up the coast stopping at some of the smaller beach communities along the way. I always get a kick out of watching and interacting with random folks I meet.

    • That sounds divine. I haven’t even researched how easy it is to get around SD without being a driver. Something to dream about.

  • femmefrugality

    I love this and hope you get to go! I put it off for years because of the costs, but finally went last year as it was East Coast. Hope that happens again. But even flying out to Cali, it more than pays for itself within a few months time.

    • Thanks for sharing. I’d love to go very much. I feel like it’s a great learning opportunity.

  • What a great take! You have definitely got me thinking.

    I’m definitely working on not looking back, and only looking forward. At the mo finhealth for me is as basic as not keeping me up at night. Very excited to be moving beyond that.

    • I hope you get passed this phase soon. That’s so hard.

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