In this financial wellness guide, you’ll learn the key areas to improve your financial health and wellbeing. Financial wellness is about your health and wealth. It’s about the overall quality of the life you’re living. It takes into account how you manage money and think and feel about your financial situation.
In 2015, we set out on the road to turn local money conversations into a national conversation on financial wellbeing. Today, we continue that mission to empower you with knowledge, access, and community.
Access the Road to Financial Wellness resource hub.
Money isn’t everything, but it impacts most things. Whether we have too little or too much, money can often create stress and impact our health. Consider these questions: what feelings and thoughts come to mind about money? do you feel secure about your future? do you get anxious waiting for payday?
When we’re not in control of money, it controls our ability to live well too. Can you afford the much needed time off? Are you able to enjoy your favorite latte? Do you skip social and family events just to stick to a budget?
I believe people can achieve financial wellbeing through a shift in mindset, a better understanding of finances, access to better banking products, and a supportive community.
In this financial wellness guide, you’ll learn the major factors that impact your health and wealth.
What is Financial Wellness?
Financial wellness is a state of healthy living through the active pursuit of financial knowledge, planning, and goal setting to live your best life.
And living your best life happens when you’re experiencing less financial stress. Stress is a normal part of life, but financial wellness aims to lessen the amount of stress you experience and improve your well-being.
Recommended Reading: Get Started on Your Financial Wellness Journey
Financial Wellness Definition
In the guide to financial wellness, we define it as a holistic approach to money and living. It’s doing more of what you love and more of what brings joy into your life. But there’s no official definition shared by every single person or organization.
And during my road trips, we learned that people define financial wellness as having enough to live comfortably, experience little financial stress, and time to enjoy life. While organizations such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau defines it with “how much your financial situation and money choices provide you with security and freedom of choice.”
To further define financial wellness and why it matters let’s separately define the words financial and wellness. The word “financial” relates to finances having synonyms: money, banking, and investments. “Wellness” is defined as being in the state of good health as an actively pursued goal. A New York Times article explained the word wellness emerged in 1650 as the opposite of illness. Wellness described a healthy state of living one achieved “without simply avoiding sickness.”
Financial Wellness is Important and Why it Matters
Financial wellness is important because it recognizes the lack of financial planning and preparation leads to increase stress, mood changes, lower productivity impacting both our relationships and work performance.
Many have argued money isn’t important and it cannot buy happiness. But money does play a significant role in our society. It’s the currency that pays for food, shelter, and medicine. It allows us the necessities to survive and the luxuries we enjoy.
And when we cannot meet our financial obligations, it causes stress leading to fatigue, absenteeism, lower production, higher medical cost, bad performance, anger and a feeling of hopelessness.
In my book, You Only Live Once, I wrote: “I wanted people to understand that financial success-however you choose to define that success-only matters if you’ve found a balance between money and life. I used the term financial wellness to describe the state of living in which your well-being is measured by the quality of your life, not just by wealth.”
We’ve all had moments where our financials caused a great deal of stress. We either didn’t have much of it or stressing over how to make it grow. These worries cause stress that impacts how we feel about our lives. Those feelings and thoughts impact our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Financial wellness aims for a healthier outlook on life. As a lifestyle goal, it’s about managing money today and planning for a future with less stress and a healthier lifestyle.
Improving Financial Health and Wellbeing
Your health matters so, therefore, financial wellness matters. The goal is to achieve financial well-being – a state of healthy living – where you experience less stress related to money. Your outlook on life is positive. And your satisfaction is high. You feel well about where you are and where you’re headed.
It’s about making better financial choices through knowledge and planning. When you can manage your money and feel better about your finances, you’ll gain a sense of security and peace of mind supporting physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
The Road to Financial Wellness Guide
The road to financial wellness includes 5 milestones–financial literacy, financial capability, financial security, financial independence, and financial freedom. Your journey to financial wellbeing isn’t about making millions of dollars. It’s about taking into account how you’re feeling today as you plan for a better tomorrow.
The road consists of 5 journeys. You may have already started on a journey and this roadmap call help you figure out more ways to improve and continue onward. Where are you starting from:
In your journey, you’ll need to incorporate the elements and pillars of financial wellness, grow your understanding of money, and improve your skills.
Pillars of Financial Wellness
The 4 fundamental pillars are:
1. Learning – growing your understanding of money consistently.
2. Planning – involving yourself in vision mapping, goal setting, and strategy execution.
3. Budgeting – using a plan to allocate money and time and tracking progress.
4. Living – choosing a balance between enjoying today and creating a better tomorrow.
Elements of Financial Wellbeing
Focus on the following 5 elements to help you master money and live well.
- Managing – budgeting and automation
- Earning – income, side hustles, and business
- Growing – saving, investing, and retirement
- Borrowing – credit and financing
- Protecting – identity protection, insurance, and estate planning
Grow Your Knowledge
To reach a level of financial wellbeing, you must grow your understanding of money. Learn more about the following:
- spending plans,
- debt-free mindset,
- multiple income streams,
- an emergency fund,
- investment strategy,
- and a retirement plan.
Read more financial wellness articles to increase your knowledge.
Better Your Skills
We all earn or make money to use it in some way to bettering our lives. The following skills help you understand how to raise financial awareness.
- Saving Purposefully – Saving is for everyone. It must be a priority in your life. We save money to make future purchases possible. It helps us afford our living expenses without being tied to a job indefinitely.
- Spending Mindfully – We make money to spend it. But the better you get at spending, the less you pay, and the more affordable things can become.
- Investing Intentionally – Though investing can seem somewhat exotic if you’ve never done it before, the process is very basic. For the most part, you are saving money, but you are doing so primarily to grow it for future needs.
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