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Achieving financial well-being through financial wellness

Kelly Kowalski, Cliff Noreen, and Bronwyn Shinnick

Posted on October 16, 2023

Our executives and experts team up to write educational articles, covering a variety of financial topics such as life planning, college savings, and retirement.
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Note that financial well-being is about being in a position to achieve your goals, not the goals themselves.

Explain that financial wellness is about knowing how to navigate the path to financial well-being.

Provide pathways to start your financial wellness journey to a state of financial well-being.

What is financial well-being? Is it …

  • A healthy savings account?
  • Bills under control?
  • Affordable family activities?
  • Manageable long-term debt?
  • A retirement that’s on track?
  • A balanced investment portfolio?
  • The ability to indulge from time to time? Or a lot?

Take a step back. No one item in and of itself — or in combination — makes you financially secure or well.

Why? Because financial goals and security differ from individual to individual.

But the desire to pursue and achieve such goals — that’s universal.

At its core, then, financial well-being is about freedom of choice — being in a position where you have the resources available to pursue your personal goals, retire comfortably, and live according to your values.

And getting to that point requires a combination of:

  • Resources: Money, assets, network, and relationships.
  • Knowledge: Financial education and professional insights.
  • Confidence: Mind-set, feeling informed, and secure.

It’s a lifelong journey to achieve financial well-being. Some may have to work from scratch to build savings and the wherewithal to establish financial security. Others may be born into a family that is financially well-off, yet still have to put in some level of effort to stay that way.

Each of us is driven by our unique set of values and goals. And those targets shift over time. Our financial confidence and priorities can change with each wake-up call or life stage — such as when we get married, start a family, or lose a loved one.

Therefore, there’s an ongoing need to evaluate and learn what actions to take to reach your goals, which is where financial wellness comes in.

Financial wellness

Financial wellness is the way in which you evaluate if you have the resources, knowledge, and confidence to pursue your goals — and how you learn the actions to take to help you get there. It’s a powerful combination of evaluating, learning, and doing.

“Financial wellness is the process by which you get to a state of financial well-being,” said Paul LaPiana, head of brand, product, and affiliated distribution for MassMutual. “It’s akin to health. You get to a state of physical well-being through a wellness routine of diet and exercise. Similarly, you get to a state of financial well-being through a financial wellness routine of careful money management and planning. And, just like physical well-being, sometimes a little coaching and expertise can help.”

To understand more about these steps:

  • Evaluate: Know your current financial picture, set goals, and assess your progress. As part of this process, you should also be prepared to pivot after the wake-up calls in your life.
  • Learn: This encompasses financial literacy, which is the education needed to make informed decisions about your personal finances and understand how to get started.
  • Act: Putting plans into practice is key. With greater clarity on your financial health and a better grasp of financial literacy, you can begin taking actionable steps that may help you reach your goals faster.

Therefore, a financial wellness program can help you be informed, motivated, and confident to make the decisions that will help you achieve financial well-being.

Guiding principles for financial wellness

Financial wellness means something different for everyone. And getting there will be a different journey for everyone, as well. Indeed, the process itself can be envisioned differently among individuals as well; some may see it as a continual financial wellness wheel and others a hierarchical pyramid-like structure.

The best strategy to practice financial wellness is the one that works for you based on your unique goals and priorities.

That could involve:

Fundamentally, financial wellness is all about being prepared to handle the moments in life that matter most so that you can reach a state of financial well-being. That means taking steps to learn how to manage your money, save for college, plan for retirement, and more.

Some parts of that financial journey could be tricky. Getting guidance from a financial professional for those areas … well, that’s part of the financial wellness process too.

You’ve got this, and we’re here to help.

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    The information provided is not written or intended as specific tax or legal advice. MassMutual, its employees and representatives are not authorized to give tax or legal advice. You are encouraged to seek advice from your own tax or legal counsel. Opinions expressed by those interviewed are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company.