Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Financial Wellness

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A recent CreditWise survey found that inflation, the economy, and money were significant sources of stress for 83%, 69%, and 66% of respondents, respectively. Those results were remarkably consistent across surveyed populations.

Any stress is bad for physical and mental health. Even short-term stress can cause symptoms like insomnia, impaired focus, fatigue, irritability, and depression. Chronic stress can contribute to and exacerbate health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, migraines, memory loss, impotence, and dozens of other life-altering and potentially life-threatening conditions.

The economic implications of chronic stress are similarly dire, with some estimates claiming it costs the American economy at least $300 billion annually. People suffering from chronic stress are less productive, more likely to need time off to address health issues and to turn to drugs and alcohol to temporarily alleviate their stress, all of which negatively affects their ability to manage their finances.

Chronic stress is bad for physical, mental, and financial health. If financial stress harms financial health, and poor financial health causes financial stress – you can see where this is going.

Millions of Americans are locked in this vicious cycle. The question is: What are we going to do about it?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau defines financial wellness as “a condition wherein a person can fully meet current and ongoing financial obligations, can feel secure in their financial future, and is able to make choices that allow them to enjoy life.” It’s broadly determined by how much people feel that they:

  • Have control over day-to-day and month-to-month finances;
  • Have the capacity to absorb a financial shock/emergency;
  • Are on track to meet their financial goals; and
  • Have the financial freedom to make the choices that allow them to enjoy life.