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The eight Cs & five Ps to financial well-being

Krystal Miga

This interview originally aired on In the Moment on SDPB Radio.

Financial experts can spend a lot of time talking about money as a stressor, but can money be an enjoyable game?

Rick Kahler is a wealth advisor and financial therapist with Kahler Financial Group. He dives into the multifaceted landscape of financial well-being, including the eight Cs and five Ps that serve as its key ingredients.

Explore Kahler's full blog.
Traits That Define Financial Well-Being
By Rick Kahler

Financial well-being is a multifaceted landscape, encompassing a spectrum of traits that define one’s relationship with money. From tranquility to turbulence, clarity to ambiguity, and compassion to indifference, these facets create a narrative of one's financial health.

Professionals such as I spend a lot of time and bytes highlighting what hurtful financial behaviors look like but little time outlining what financial well-being looks like. Understanding the positive traits alongside the negative allows us to navigate this intricate terrain more effectively. First, the eight Cs:

Calm: Here lies the tranquil harbor where anxiety about finances finds no foothold. Those who embody calmness in their financial outlook navigate the ebbs and flows of monetary concerns without being overwhelmed by anxiety. You have enough money to cover your basic needs: Having enough money for healthy food, nurturing environments, good clothing, safe transportation and health care.

  • Turbulent: On the flip side of calm, the turbulence internal financial system is filled with anxiety. It becomes your constant companion. Financial worries loom large, casting shadows on every decision and action, creating a perpetually stressful internal environment.

Clarity: The path ahead is clear for those who know their future needs. You know your future needs and are saving for financial independence, a down payment on a house, or your child's education, etc. Your foresight acts as a guiding light, allowing you to steer through financial uncertainties.

  • Ambiguity: Unlike clarity, the fog of ambiguity blankets those unaware of future needs, leading to a lack of savings for independence or goals. Your financial compass lacks direction, navigating through uncertainties with no clear direction or destination.

Compassion: You provide for your current needs without the weight of obligation, shame or guilt. Your giving comes from a place of abundance rather than from emotional burdens of “ought” and “should.”

  • Indifference: Neglecting your current financial needs or giving out of obligation, shame or guilt showcases indifference. This indifference creates a disconnect between your emotional and financial realms, stifling any hope of systemic harmony between your needs and the needs of others.

Connectedness: You have a good relationship and secure attachment around money without parts of you feeling conflicted and polarized. You feel safe, supported and connected to money and allow money to support your physical and emotional needs. You are aware of and able to express your thoughts, feelings and beliefs around money. You generally live in a state of internal financial harmony.

  • Detached: Instead of being connected to your relationship with money, you are detached from your finances and have significant internal conflict and polarizations. This leads to anxious or avoidant attachments with money and breeds discord within yourself, hindering a wholesome financial outlook.

Courage: Uncovering vulnerable parts of yourself wounded around money takes courage. You are able to address hard financial realities like having a plan to pay off debt, spending less, saving more and have self-nurturing boundaries.

  • Conformity: Protecting the system's status quo around your finances and any vulnerabilities characterizes conformity rather than courage. You avoid addressing hard financial realities. This hinders progress and maintains the status quo at the expense of growth.

Creativity: Using resources to find financial solutions that cater to your diverse needs takes creativity. It fosters an environment where innovation meets financial necessities.

  • Sterility: There is no creativity in meeting diverse financial needs but instead a stifling of any innovation and adaptability in finding financial solutions.

Curiosity: Seeking to discover and modify unhelpful money scripts and behaviors and then acquiring the knowledge, skills and support needed to make sound financial decisions defines curiosity. It's an eagerness to learn and grow in the financial realm.

  • Apathy: A disinterest in acknowledging money scripts or hurtful financial behaviors and a lack of effort in acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills represent apathy. This indifference inhibits growth and development in financial literacy.

Confidence: Trusting yourself to use your resources in making sound financial decisions reflects confidence. You feel secure in your ability to collaborate and meet financial obligations and goals.

  • Doubt: You distrust yourself to resourcefully make sound financial decisions, resulting in insecurity within the system about meeting financial obligations and reaching financial goals.

And now the five Ps:
Patience: Being fully aware financial wellness takes time and willing to take inevitable set-backs in stride.

  • Impatience: Expecting immediate financial results and disregarding the fact that financial wellness requires time and consistent effort.

Presence: Conscious of your current financial situation in the here and now. You are able to access thoughts, emotions and sensations you have in reaction to your current financial situation without judgment. You are able to see the reality of your current financial picture without undue influence of yesterday or tomorrow.

  • Distraction: Thoughts, emotions and sensations around money focus on the past or the future and accompany them with judgment and shame. You avoid being present and fail to address them, focusing on other, less important activities.

Persistence: Continual commitment and action to improving your personal financial well-being, even in the face of obstacles that come your way.

  • Inaction: You are unwilling to move from a particular financial position or belief or risk changing a financial situation to improve personal financial well-being. There is a general lack of commitment and motivation to change.

Perspective: Open to new angles of viewing money and your thoughts, emotions, money scripts and stories you make up.

  • Narrow-mindedness: Resistance to any exploration of new perspectives on money and refusing to consider alternative views or reevaluate thoughts, emotions and stories related to it.

Playfulness: Holding your self-reflection around your finances lightly, money can be an enjoyable game.

  • Grimness: Taking personal finances overly seriously, viewing money perpetually as a heavy burden rather than an enjoyable game or an opportunity to create financial well-being.
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Lori Walsh is the host and senior producer of In the Moment.
Ellen Koester is a producer of In the Moment, SDPB's daily news and culture broadcast.
Ari Jungemann is a producer of In the Moment, SDPB's daily news and culture broadcast.