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Health, Wealth, Community–It’s All Connected!

(We’re thrilled to welcome Ellen to the blog! – Brenda)  

By Money & Finance Editor Ellen Duffy, CFP™

Many years ago, I read about a research study that set out to understand what makes people happy. Who identifies as being happy? Or, who considers themselves to be in a state of overall well-being? After interviewing thousands of people, the researchers determined that people who are happy, and in an overall state of well-being share three characteristics. The three common traits are listed below…

  1. Physical Health: respondents were generally healthy.
  2. Financially Secure: respondents felt financially secure.
  3. Community: respondents had strong relationships, and a sense of community in their lives.

This finding resonated with me. It made sense. It seemed to simplify and distill the complexities of modern daily life, and our never ending “to-do” lists into three priorities of health, wealth, and community.  Maybe analogous to the oft stated term of “mind, body, spirit” …yet the latter is silent on any reference to money and its undeniable impact on our stress level and sense of well-being.

Health, Wealth, Community…It’s all connected! We know it is expensive to be in a state of compromised health. Missed work, prescriptions, insurance co-pays, hired help – the list goes on….

Q.)  What is a major contributing factor to physical illness?
A.) Stress. The effects of stress on health are well documented.

Q.) What is a leading cause of stress?
A.) Financial concerns. Money matters are often cited as a leading cause of stress, and divorce.

Q.) What alleviates stress?
A.) Exercise, social support, self-care, sleep, meditation, nutrition…community.

If we accept that good health, financial security, and strong relationships or sense of community can improve our overall life and sense of well-being, why not endeavor to strengthen these three tenets? If we feel more financially secure, will we alleviate stress?  If we alleviate stress, will our physical health improve? If we spend time with our loved ones or in our community, and nourish our social life, will we alleviate stress and improve our physical health? It’s all connected!

I grew up watching my mother, who was a Registered Nurse worry incessantly about money. It is my belief that these worries made her physically, mentally, and spiritually sick.

This is not to understate medical diagnoses but reflects my observations. I believe that if my mother had someone like me to talk to about money, and better tools to alleviate the associated stress… her life would have been easier and more enjoyable.  

Today women have more responsibility for their own financial well-being than ever before, yet study after study tells us that women feel uncomfortable talking about money and lack confidence in matters of finance, tax, investing etc.  The lack of confidence and understanding can lend to a feeling of uncertainty… which is stressful!  Everyone deserves to feel informed about their financial life and profile, aware of strengths and weaknesses and pathways for a better outcome.

This is why I was thrilled when Brenda asked me to be a contributor to BrendaAfterSixty. While Brenda has created a wonderful sense of community, and other contributors are equipped to address matters of physical health, I’m happy to share any information that may help with feeling more financially informed and secure.

This is my first blog post ever. Thank you in advance for your patience as I hope to share content that is helpful. I asked a friend who is a marketing professional about the best way to write an inaugural blog post – and she replied, “Just use AI (artificial intelligence)!”  I did not heed this advice, but this is testament to our ever-changing world.  

Money and investing should be simple and boring, yet we know the subject is often loaded, complex, and even “off-limits.”  My goal is to simplify things and provide some general information to help women feel more confident…especially women “after 60.”

I look forward to becoming part of your community!

All the best – Ellen Duffy, CFP™  

Ellen Duffy simplifies money and investing so that her clients feel confident about making decisions for their financial future. She is a Certified Financial Planner™ and owner of Parkway Wealth Management, an independent wealth management firm in Boston offering investment advisory and planning services. After spending 20 years in investment management with “downtown” firms, Ellen founded Parkway Wealth to serve clients in an authentic way and offer personal financial advice. Her business has a focus on women, helping women feel more confident and informed. Today, women have more responsibility for the financial well-being of the household than ever, yet despite this increased role and responsibility, many women feel uncomfortable talking about money and investing.  Ellen works with clients to understand their questions, concerns, hopes, and fears. Financial planning is about freedom and choices. Ellen lives in West Roxbury with her husband Tim Turley and their three teenagers. An active community member, Ellen believes an integrated approach to “health, wealth, community” can build a strong foundation for a lifetime of financial well-being. (Investment advice offered through Private Advisor Group, a registered investment advisor.)

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