Healthy IU and IU MoneySmarts launch a financial wellness challenge

Are you ready to lay the foundation for your financial wellness? Join Healthy IU and IU MoneySmarts in September for the Money Mindset: Financial Wellness Challenge.

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The Money Mindset: Financial Wellness Challenge starts Sept. 9.

This new three-week challenge starts Sept. 9 and will guide participants in gaining financial self-knowledge and skills to feel confident on their financial wellness journey.

"Healthy IU is excited to partner with IU MoneySmarts to provide our fall online challenge on this increasingly important wellness topic," Healthy IU manager Samantha Schaefer said.

Research has shown the negative impact of stress on our physical, social and emotional well-being. And in recent years, finances have been at the top of the list of stressors.

In 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's "Financial Wellness at Work" report found that seven out of 10 American workers listed finances as their most common cause of stress. And a recent survey from the American Psychological Association found that almost a third of adults with partners report that money is a major source of conflict in their relationships.

While there's no "one-size-fits-all" answer for improving financial wellness, there are some basic steps everyone can take: understand where your money is going, and know what your personal financial values are. That's what the Money Mindset challenge aims to do.

The first week of the challenge focuses on tracking spending habits. The second week will guide participants in discovering and reflecting on their personal financial values. The third and final week helps participants hone their goal-setting skills to move forward on their financial wellness path.

"We designed this challenge to be very foundational," said IU MoneySmarts director Phil Schuman, who has been helping the IU community with financial wellness for almost a decade. "Everyone can do it, no matter his or her prior knowledge or experience with financial wellness."

Schaefer agreed. "Each week is very intentionally focused on one small task. We want to give participants the time, encouragement and space to consider these financial building blocks in a fun way."

For those who want to take a deeper dive into topics like saving, debt, credit and retirement, Schuman's team will provide additional programs and resources after the challenge. Participants can register for the additional programs when they sign up for the challenge, or they can register for them separately.

The challenge is free and open to the entire IU community. It's an opportunity to open the lines of communication and learn more about financial wellness together with spouses or even the whole family.

Full-time IU employees and their spouses who sign up are eligible to receive an IU MoneySmarts/Healthy IU journal to use during the challenge. The journal will be useful for jotting thoughts and reflections and keeping track of goals. It also has pockets for keeping receipts during the "track spending" week of the challenge. Journals are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, while supplies last.

Questions about the challenge? Email Healthy IU at challeng@iu.edu.

Julie Newsom is a communications specialist for Healthy IU.