Financial Wellness

Financial Wellness 101

Discover why financial wellness is important—and what you can do to keep financial stress from compromising your mental and physical health.

Podcast transcript


PETE: You’re listening to How Not to Move Back in With Your Parents here on the IU MoneySmarts Radio Network. I’m Pete the Planner. Alex is here.

ALEX: Hello.

PETE: How are you buddy?

ALEX: I’m doing well. How about you?

PETE: Good. You know what? I got to be honest, my favorite topic ever, it really is, financial wellness. Today we’re talking about financial wellness and to do so we’re joined by employee with the School of Public Health Deb Getz. What do you at the School of Public Health, specifically?

DEB: I’m a clinical associate professor, so I teach and I also coordinate a number of programs that help our students become better leaders and more engaged in the School of Public Health.

PETE: Can I call you professor?

DEB: Deb is perfect.

PETE: If you were fifteen minutes late to the taping of this podcast I would have left, you know what I mean, this is the whole professor thing is that how that works how does that work?

ALEX: It’s down to like seven or ten minutes now. Is it?

PETE: Because I think we’re in that sort of.

ALEX: Yeah, but you’ve got the right idea.

DEB: Unless you’re the professor and you say oops too bad you guys have got to be here.

PETE: So financial wellness is kind of a new term a new concept. It’s the world in which I live, it is what I do, I coordinate financial wellness programs all around the country. Deb from a public health perspective it’s becoming increasingly important as financial stresses and financial struggles impact people’s lives. Why is IU and the School of Public Health taking such an interest in it?

DEB: Because we understand that for students and for humans it’s important for them to understand what causes them stress. Financial issues certainly are one of the largest things that cause stress in lives. And as public health professionals we need to make sure that we understand how to work with other human beings so that they can keep that stress down, managed, and be good planners.

PETE: Alex, previous to you doing financial work both in this podcast. And as my former intern did you think of money that way or did you just think of it as a tool because there ain’t most people just say, it’s [INAUDIBLE] I make it and I move on.

ALEX: It sounds bad but I really didn’t think about it much at all.

PETE: Yeah-

ALEX: If I’m being honest-

PETE: No, that’s what we want.

ALEX: It was definitely in education working for you and working on this podcast, starting work and learning more about finances. There’s a lot to know and a lot of people just simply don’t think about it. They think about it as a number in their savings account, their checking account, and that’s all it is to them, especially at a young age. So it’s definitely a big push that needs to be made to educate kids on what is actually going on and what you need to know for the future.

PETE: Deb, what are some common things that you’re seeing that you’re trying to address? Obviously I know you’re doing work with IU MoneySmarts, help us understand what you’re seeing.

DEB: I think the big thing is, we see a lot of students that come in with very significant levels of stress. Because they’re trying to stay in school, they’re trying to work multiple jobs, and they’re trying to work towards their ultimate professional goals. So, what we’re really looking to do is help them understand, be very intentional about what they’re doing with their money, and help them plan ahead as opposed to having them be in a crisis position. And putting them in danger of either dropping out of school or even worse just being in a horrible emotional place.

PETE: It’s interesting if you look at what stress does to someone, with their body. And financial stress being one of these big factors, you’re talking about obviously the things like depression and anxiety but then you get into back pain.

DEB: Your education needs to be matched up with your social health, your financial health, your emotional health and certainly also your faith, beliefs and your spirituality. Those are all important parts and we wanna help balance those things.

ALEX: And I think that brings up a great point too. Because on this podcast throughout the last couple seasons, we’ve always talked about, specifically, the financial wellness portion. And that we need to know, as students, what’s important going forward, how to handle the financial life. But we haven’t touched too much on how that affects your overall health in general. And it will totally affect you during school, whether it’s your studies and going into your future, even just enjoying college, which is something that has to happen. It’s supposed to be, as they say, the greatest four years of your life, and if you’re burdened by all that stress that’s affecting you on a daily basis, then you’re gonna be missing out on a lot of things that you shouldn’t be missing out on at this point in your life.

DEB: Exactly, and one of the cool things about it is, through the School of Public Health Bloomington, we have the opportunity to help students understand a number of domains of wellness, and financial is obviously very, very important. It impacts stress and any number of things. We also like to highlight things like your social wellness. It is important to get out and enjoy the opportunities that you have at college, and it’s important to understand that you can do that and be intentional and not spend a lot of money. We also look at things like your emotional or spiritual wellness. Those are very important things. We all honor those things in different ways, but they are crucial to who we are. We wanna make sure you’re physically well, and physical wellness absolutely is impacted by your financial wellness and financial stress. And then of course you’re on campus because you want to graduate and you want to be strong in both your educational and occupational wellness. So all of those things come together. It’s a very nice partnership with the School of Public Health Bloomington. And we have the opportunity to make sure folks see the big picture in all those domains.

PETE: I find there’s an interesting difference between wellness and literacy as it relates to financial aspect. We do this podcast through the Department of Financial Literacy because the reality is you’re sitting here listening to it. No offense. There’s just a a bunch of stuff you don’t know about money. That you just don’t know. When you’re 35 and you’re trying to hear this information again you should know it by then. But the challenge is, from a behavior standpoint, sometimes we don’t do what we know we should do and that’s when it certainly crosses over into wellness. Because, Alex, as you know, you should probably exercise regularly and you should not live a buffet lifestyle. You know that, you’ve known that for a long time. If you act against that then we have a wellness issue, right? Because you know what you should do but you’re not doing it.

ALEX: Yeah, and it comes down to those day-to-day decisions, too, that’ll effect everything totally. So if you’re doing the buffet lifestyle, you’re spending more money, you’re being more unhealthy at the same time. And it’s gonna compound that at the end of the day. So it’s a lifestyle and people don’t usually think of finances as a part of lifestyle, but it’s so crucial to have that be in your mind.

DEB: And it definitely impacts how you are and how successful you are. So we really do want students to stop, step back, be as intentional as possible, make really good decisions, and be careful that you take the time to understand all of those pieces that impact your life with financial obviously being an important part of it.

PETE: This has become increasingly important for today’s student for a couple of different reasons. Number one, because of the increased amount of student loans that people take on. That the experience you’re having as a college student, like it or not, completely different than what your parents had.

DEB: Absolutely.

PETE: And if you have a much older brother or sister, much different than what they’ve had. And so we can’t take the same attitude of almost the apathy of well, I don’t really care, everything is gonna sort itself out. And not to be fear mongering, it kind of doesn’t. Alex, all the stuff you said earlier you never really thought about money too much prior to this experience and a few others that we’ve been through together. But I think more than anything what you’ve learned is you’ve got to be thankful you figured it out because it doesn’t work itself out.

ALEX: Not at all, and that’s to the point where things will blind side you. Yeah. If you don’t know whats coming, and then you are in real deep trouble. So everything from, people don’t even think about taxes. And how that’s gonna grow, when they get a job. Or just expenses that are gonna occur, that you not to be thinking about or even later in life. Because say you didn’t start saving and investing early enough. And then you’ll hit 50’s, 60’s and then all of a sudden you’re asking what’s going on. So learning those things early in life is definitely going to set you up for a better future. And the earlier you can learn those and be in good shape the better opportunities you’re gonna afford yourself.

PETE: Think of the stuff we didn’t know would hurt us. We didn’t know smoking would kill us for a long time so a lot of people did it. We didn’t know you should wear sunscreen when you’re out in the sun. But now we know those things and you have to practice that way. Here’s what we know about our financial lives and the work that Deb’s doing at the student, I can’t even think.

DEB: The School of Public Health-

PETE: The School of Public Health, I’m running out of words as the podcast comes to a close, it’s important.

DEB: Absolutely it’s important. And I think it’s also important for the students to understand every time you make a decision there’s a financial component behind it. And there’s a social component behind it. So we want you to, again, be intentional. We want you to think about each of those perspectives and understand that students who take the time to plan ahead and to break things down into small parts, are the ones that are gonna be able to manage the stress because they are managing their finances intentionally.

PETE: Absolutely well, thank you Deb for taking time to come join us here today on the podcast. Alex, thanks as always, if you want more information go to Of course this has been How Not to Move Back in With Your Parents right here on the IU MoneySmarts Radio Network.