Core Concept: Financial Well-Being

Financial well-being is self-defined by the individualFinancial Well-Being is an ever-changing, personal state that typically includes factors such as satisfactorily managing one’s current financial situation; the ability to exercise choice and feel in control of finances; and the outlook for future prospects. In the Personal Finance Ecosystem, financial well-being is self-defined by the individual.

Financial Well-being is Unique to the Individual

A comparable way to think of financial well-being is to relate it to the pain scale at a doctor’s office. What matters most is how the patient feels and how they assess their own pain. Two people enduring the same affliction may score themselves very differently based on pain tolerance and any number of other factors. Each individual gets to say how they feel about their situation, and may feel fine despite very significant challenges.

Financial well-being fluctuates over time

We intentionally refrain from saying an individual achieves financial well-being, as if it were a final destination. Rather, financial well-being is a state that changes. Someone who feels financially fragile still has financial well-being, just as someone who is diagnosed with a health condition still has a measure of physical health that can be improved or worsened based on any number of factors or interventions. This distinction goes beyond semantics: we hold that language matters to remind people that financial well-being will fluctuate over time and is not a static end state. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has done extensive work with financial well-being and NEFE conceptualizes it much in the same way.

Every individual always has some level of financial well-being,
so financial well-being never starts or ends.

Back to Top