financial stress

In the massage and spa industry, we talk a lot about how to relax and rejuvenate our clients.

What we sometimes forget is that we massage therapists deserve to feel relaxed and rejuvenated, too.

A major potential stressor for any small-businessperson or employee is financial stress.

Financial Stress

Do you feel stressed out about money? If so, you’re certainly not alone.

According to a 2015 CBS news report, “Financial worries served as a significant source of stress for 64 percent of adults in 2014, ranking higher than three other major sources of stress: work (60 percent), family responsibilities (47 percent), and health concerns (46 percent).”

Another study conducted in 2017 by the American Psychological Association found similar results regarding financial stress. This study found that 62 percent of the Americans polled named money as their highest source of stress.

While financial stress brings clients to us for relaxing and therapeutic services, financial stress finds its way into our massage-or-spa practice as well.

It is time to flex our financial muscle. How can we create a chart to follow that will help us achieve financial stability and financial success?

Here are a few tips and tricks to help guide you and your practice on a path to financial success.

Budget, Budget, Budget!

I know budget might be a foreign word to some people, as we are not taught in school how to create a proper budget.

A budget includes a list of income and expenses.

Listing all your income and expenses is crucial to having a handle on what money you have coming in and what money is going out. Creating this kind of a list is the true definition of understanding cash flow.

Of course, you are supposed to have more money coming in than going out, but is that actually happening?

It may be obvious to list things like your rent, laundry, electric and telephone expenses. But what about your morning coffee from your favorite corner coffee house?

A key to getting a true grip on your cash flow is to list everything you spend money on in any given day.

Think about what you want to create for yourself during the year and budget in those expenses.

Do you have certain goals you want to achieve in your spa business?

What continuing education courses will you be taking to expand your knowledge and enhance your services? Do you want to take a vacation? Be realistic. One main issue with budgeting is that people start and keep it up for a few months, then fall off the wagon.

If you want to consistently grow your personal and business finances, you need to create a realistic budget, review it every month and stick to it.

Create a Game Plan for Financial Success

You didn’t plan to fail, you just failed to plan.

Not planning for the future ends up biting us in the gluteus maximus.

What are your plans for sick days, vacations or time off?

Most massage therapy employers or private practices do not offer paid benefits. If they do, they are limited. Our profession is largely comprised of independent contractors or private practices.

While you are massaging your budget each month, make sure to include sick days, a vacation and a realistic number of days off.

Take a calendar and list out special events, trips or just plain mental health days for each month.

There are unique savings accounts offering higher returns that you can open to put money into for specific things.

You can create a fund for taxes, new products or equipment for your treatments or even a vacation. There are also financial savings products where you can begin to save for your long-term future.


Retirement is a word no one wants to talk about yet everyone wants to do it. It is imperative to begin saving for your retirement today.

When it comes to money growth, every day matters. As Trent Hamm, a blogger for The Simple Dollar, said, “If you’re choosing not to save, that’s your choice … It just means you’re choosing to spend now in exchange for working later in life.”

Over the last several decades Americans have relied upon several forms of saving for retirement that have begun to fail. According to a study done by Paychex payroll service, roughly 78 million Americans (half of American workers) do not have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans.

According to the Social Security Administration, the future for Social Security is somewhat uncertain, but with more information and projections over time the future of this program will become clearer.

Social Security may be available to you only if you have contributed enough into it.

You can visit the Social Security Administration’s website and see exactly how much you are projected to receive. Bear in mind that Social Security is meant to be only one stream of income for retirement.

Build Your Team

So how do you find other streams of income for your future?

Part of a successful business is having a strong team. You cannot do everything yourself. It is crucial to have the right professionals to support you and your business. These people will become the fascia that binds together your business muscle.

An accountant will ensure you have the most tax advantages whether you are an independent contractor, business owner or employee.

A financial professional will help steer you in the right direction. Choosing the right financial professional is like choosing the right therapist. There needs to be criteria that the professional meets to serve you in the best way possible.

There are accountants you can hire who are not Certified Public Accountants (CPA) and can help you keep track of monthly cash flow for a lower fee than a CPA would charge. Annually or quarterly to assist you with the heavy lifting, you will want a qualified CPA to ensure you are receiving the most tax advantages.

Financial professionals come in all shapes and sizes.

Some will take your hand and walk you through the best products for your budget and lifestyle. Some will require that you make a minimum amount per year.

High fees can also be attached to certain financial professionals’ products and services. Look for companies that offer their services for free and have products with low fees. You want someone who will look out for your best interest, not the company they represent.

Make a decision today that will help you achieve financial success. If your business or personal finance is suffering, find a professional to sit down with you and search for the underlying reason. You will be successful and create the life of your dreams.


Rebecca Pollock, LMT, BCTMB, has been a massage therapist since 1997 and a massage therapy instructor since 2006. She ran Chicago College of Healing Arts for two years, was a committee member for two years, and a school outreach specialist for five years for the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. She a member of the Florida State Massage Therapy Association, the president of its Southwest Chapter and is also its educational standards chair.