What Financial Health Means to Me

June 29, 2016

Financial health. When you hear that term, what comes to mind? Like physical health, financial health — what it looks like and the approach to achieve it — can differ from person to person.

One definition of health is a flourishing condition. Aiming for and maintaining a flourishing condition, regarding our finances, is something we all should look to do — regardless of our method.

Achieving Financial Health is Simple…But Hard

When you think about it, the steps to health (of any kind) are not complicated. We know what to do. If you want to achieve and maintain physical health, you need to eat well and exercise. To achieve financial health, you need to live within your means and save.

Yes, these are broad steps, and there is more to both physical and financial health, but in both instances, everything else you need to do to attain health flows from those “simple” steps. The steps are not complicated. It’s the doing and the implementing that is difficult.

According to CFSI’s Consumer Financial Health Study, 57% of Americans — approximately 138 million adults — are struggling financially. Whoa. More than half of us are struggling. This statistic is startling and highlights the fact that achieving financial health is challenging.

Prevention is Better Than Cure

What is more shocking than the statistic is that we aren’t talking about it — at least not to the extent we should be. If 57% of Americans suffered from a single disease, we would ALL be talking about it.

We would spend plenty of resources, not only in attempting to cure the disease but also in preventative services; awareness efforts; and care for those suffering from the disease. We would focus on educating our youth, so they avoid becoming a part of the statistics in their adult years.

Unfortunately, poor financial health can be masked easily. And ironically, those in the deepest trouble can appear to be in far greater financial health than those that are actually doing well.

It is this ease of concealing the visible signs of poor financial health that keep the conversation about it to a murmur. The good news is, awareness regarding financial health and wellness is increasing. We have a way to go, but we are making progress.

Aiming For Financial Health

Just like a vegan diet and a protein-rich diet can both be considered healthy, many different paths can yield financial health. However, there are universal steps we can all take to work towards our own picture of financial health.

Be Aware

Awareness of your current situation and the impact of your choices and decisions is a major component of financial health. Regularly assessing where you are is crucial.

Be Intentional

No one is healthy by accident. Achieving financial health requires taking action, making the right choices for your situation, and taking intentional steps towards a healthy lifestyle.

Learn From Your Mistakes

Ever spoken to someone who survived a heart attack? They live differently. Learning from your financial hiccups and simply doing better — better than you did yesterday, a year ago, five years ago — is health in itself.

What is your personal definition of financial health? What would it take for you to describe your finances as flourishing and healthy?