Today is #FinHealthMatters Day, a day devoted to discussing ways to improve the financial health of American families. It is also day #5 of Money Smart Week (April 21-28) and part of Financial Literacy Month (April) so there is a lot of conversation going on right now about money and personal finances.
Financial health matters to everyone. We are stronger as a country when people are financially healthy:
· Financially Independent Citizens– Less burden on government services that everyone pays for
· Happier People- Less anger about the American Dream slipping away and “haves” vs. “have nots”
· Better Physical Health- Resources for healthier eating, medical care, and periodic check-ups
· Stronger Economy- Resilience during economic downturns and more investors and shoppers
· Fewer Predatory Loans– Less need for people to use high-cost payday and car title lenders
Two phrases come to my mind when I think about financial health:
Small Steps- Any step forward is progress, even if it is far short of doing what experts recommend. Doing something is always better than doing nothing.
More Options– Financial health puts people in charge of their money so they can handle unexpected expenses and have flexibility to make choices.
Several organizations have classified personal financial practices into categories. Each uses a slightly different term to describe a positive constellation of financial behaviors. All three entities include goal setting and planning in descriptions of financially successful people:
· Financial Well-Being (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)
· Financial Health (Center for Financial Services Innovation)
· Financial Capability (FINRA Investor Education Foundation)
Start taking action today to improve your financial health. Set personally meaningful goals, develop action plans to reach them, and celebrate any positive progress as “success.” Every small step matters!