You could have money and still not be financially well

How Financial Wellness Differs from Wealth

by Rick Kahler

Related Articles

Give Your Finances an Annual Check Up

Overcoming Financial Stress

Are Psychological Issues Costing You Money?

Dieting Tricks That Can Help You Lose Financial Weight

One of the most important financial journeys we can take is the path to financial wellness. Building financial security and independence, while certainly important, makes up only one slice of the whole financial wellness pie. Financial wellness also incorporates the ways wealth and income affect our emotional and physical well-being. In most cases, the impact is both positive and negative.

The journey to financial wellness is far different from the path to becoming rich. Achieving financial wellness cannot be done in a vacuum; it requires developing a degree of emotional and physical wellness as well. Searching for one will inherently expand to a search for all three. Just as with emotional and physical health, developing financial wellness is certainly a journey. I doubt that journey ever has a final destination, and it's one that relatively few people choose to make.

If you are considering a journey to financial wellness, here are a few thoughts.

  1. Remember that it's your journey. It doesn't work to follow the path to financial wellness because a spouse, parent, friend, or financial planner recommends it. If your motivation is a "should" or an "ought," you might as well save yourself a lot of frustration and pain by stopping before the journey starts.
  2. Don't attempt to guilt, shame, or manipulate anyone else to come along with you on the journey. We can't find financial wellness for anyone else but ourselves. We certainly can join with others for mutual support and learning along the way, but all those on the path need to be there for themselves regardless of whether others are on the path.
  3. Be prepared for the naysayers. Not everyone in your life is going to support your quest for financial wellness. Many will try to convince to stop before you start or to turn back once you've begun. Often, the closer a person is to you and the more dependent they are on your financial choices, the more threatening your journey may be to them and the more they will resist you changing.
  4. Lower your expectations of how quickly your attitudes and behaviors around money and finances will change. Chances are it has taken you a lifetime to get to where you are with your relationship with money. Unlike the journey that Ebenezer Scrooge took to financial wellness, your relationship won't be miraculously transformed overnight.
  5. In the early stages of your journey, resist the urge to substitute getting more practical and logical information about money and finances instead of looking at the emotions and feelings you have around money. Most of the journey to financial wellness is not about the money. It's about the thoughts, beliefs, and emotions you have about money and wealth.
  6. Find one or more trusted guides to help you along the journey. Seek out those who are traveling the path ahead of you and who appear to practice at least some of the financial wellness you want. Learn from their missteps. Benefit from their experience and wisdom.
  7. calculator iconCalculator: How much income will my retirement savings provide?

  8. Open yourself to new awareness and knowledge. Be prepared to let go of your most deeply held "truths" about money. The more stubbornly we cling to strong beliefs about how systems work or people function around money, the more likely that those beliefs are not serving us well.
  9. Be gentle with yourself when you get off the main path and need to retrace your steps. Everyone on the journey to financial wellness takes their share of wrong turns. Mistakes and dead ends are inevitable and are not failures. They are opportunities to learn, to make course corrections, and to continue your journey.

Reviewed August 2017

Rick Kahler

Rick Kahler, MSFP, ChFC, CFP, is a fee-only financial planner and author. Find more information at Contact him at or 343-1400, ext. 111.

Take the Next Step:

  • Get the interest you deserve! Compare money market and savings account rates with our best rate finder. It only takes a minute and your privacy is completely protected.
  • Are you your money's worst enemy? Find out how to protect your finances from yourself.
  • Get control of your financial life. Subscribe to Financial Independence, a free daily email that provides you with the tools to help you gain that control and achieve financial independence. Subscribers get a copy of Are You Heading for Debt Trouble? A Simple Checklist for FREE!

Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.

Debt Book
Stay Connected with TDS

Do you struggle to get ahead financially?

Surviving Tough Times is a weekly newsletter aimed at helping you stretch your dollars and make the most of your resources.

Debt Checklist

And get a copy of Are You Heading for Debt Trouble?
A Simple Checklist and What You Can Do About It
for FREE!

Your Email:

View the TDS Privacy Policy.

Debt Book