What does it mean to be “financially healthy?” Most people think it has to do with how much money you earn or your credit score, but it actually is much more than that.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) developed a 10-question survey that examines your financial well-being based on how you save, spend and generally think about money.

Ready to get started? Take the survey now.

Or before you dive right in, let’s go over some of the background of how the CFPB developed this survey and what it means to you.

Defining “Financial Well-Being”

“Financial well-being” is a tricky concept to define. Less debt. More savings. Spend less than you earn. These are all good guidelines to being financially healthy, but they are often not accurate enough to be broadly applied to all Americans and their unique situations. For example, a 22-year old that just graduated from college will have a very different financial portfolio than a 63-year old with two kids and a mortgage.

The question remains: How can you determine if you are financially healthy when your personal financial situation can differ so greatly from others?

To solve this problem, the CFPB first set out to explicitly define what “financial well-being” means from a consumer perspective.

Over the past few years, their research teams talked with thousands of Americans about what financial well-being means to them. These interviews, along with research and consultation from leading experts, allowed them to create a set of guidelines that they believe defines “financial well-being.”

According to the CFPB, financial well-being revolves around having “financial security and financial freedom of choice, in the present and in the future.”

More specifically, it includes the following elements:

  • Having control over one’s finances in terms of being able to pay bills on time, not having unmanageable debt, and being able to make ends meet.
  • Having a financial “cushion” against unexpected expenses and emergencies. Having savings, health insurance, and good credit, and being able to rely on friends and family for financial assistance were factors that increase consumers’ capacity to absorb a financial shock.
  • Having financial goals—such as paying off one’s student loans within a certain number of years or saving a particular amount towards one’s retirement—and being on track to meet those financial goals also made people feel like they were in good shape financially.
  • Being able to make choices that allow one to enjoy life—such as taking a vacation, enjoying a meal out now and then, going back to school to pursue an advanced degree, or working less to spend more time with family—was also deemed an essential ingredient in financial well-being.

Scoring Your Financial Health

Based on these guidelines, the CFPB also created a brief 10-question survey to help measure your financial habits against their definition of financial well-being. This survey will provide you with a financial well-being score between 0 and 100 that represents your underlying level of financial well-being.

Ready to get started now? You can take the survey online at the CFPB website:

https://www.consumerfinance.gov/consumer-tools/financial-well-being/

Once you get your score, you can measure it against the averages based on Age, Household Income and Employment Status. The average score for all surveyed adults was 54.

Next Steps…

Now that you know your Financial Well-Being score, consider taking steps to improve it by getting financially fit for the new year or by creating a new habit around saving.

Additionally, EarnUp can help you manage your loan payments and budget effectively to get you out of debt.

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EarnUp blog content is for educational purposes only. Information shown is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended as financial advice. Please consult a financial adviser for advice specific to your financial situation. EarnUp makes no guarantees as to the accurateness, quality, or completeness of the information and EarnUp shall not be responsible or liable for any errors, omissions, inaccuracies in the information or for any user’s reliance on the information.