Rules for achieving financial wellness

I revisited an article this morning that I tucked away several months ago. The article, "How to Lead by Example: Dr. Schuler's Ten Rules for Working and Living," by Dr. A.J. Schuler, discusses ten "attitudes" for leading by example.

The article really inspired me, and the more I read, the more I thought about these attitudes and their connection to other aspects of life, like finances. Here are a few of the doctor's rules and my financial interpretations of each:

Rule #1: The Lives we Live are the Lives we Create

No one forced us to buy the car we couldn't afford or the dress that we couldn't live without. We are responsible for our financial decisions and, thus, the impact these decisions have on our lives. Make a conscious decision to take control of your finances. Set achievable goals to help you create the life you want. If you want to create a savings cushion, aim to save at least $25 each month. Even if you start small…it’s still a start. Here are "tips for change" to consider.

Rule #2: Health and Productivity go Hand in Hand

"Fiscal Fitness" is important too. In fact, studies show that employees' financial concerns have been linked to decreases in productivity and increased stress at work. Getting your fiscal state in order impacts more than your bank account. Here are some resources to help you get financially fit.

Rule #3: Don’t Wait for Solutions: Create Them

Instead of waiting for the right solution to come along, seek it out. Identify your problem, assess the situation, research options and implement a solution. For example, are you living paycheck to paycheck? Jot down all of your expenses, your debts, and your income. Review the list to understand where you're spending money. If you spend a majority on groceries, research coupon clipping. Clip some coupons and test it out for a month. Here are some additional resources to help you.

Rule #4: Negativity Kills

The power of positive thinking has a lot going for it. Congratulate yourself on paying off a credit card instead of harping on the two others that need to be paid. It may be seem like a long road, but keeping your head held high is the only way to make it through a tough situation. Read positive success stories from some of our clients here.

Rule #5: In the End, We Are All More or Less Human

The good doctor has a point! We are human and we make mistakes. Use mistakes made as opportunities to learn more about yourself and your finances. Keep a financial journal to record your ups and downs and review it from time to time. You may be surprised how much you learn about yourself.

I hope these lessons inspire you to make a change for the better. Do you have any rules or lessons that inspire or guide you? (Dr. A. J. Schuler is an expert in leadership and organizational change. To find out more about his programs and services, visit

Courtney Velek is a former marketing manager at MMI.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.