Financial Wellbeing Involves More Than Managing Money

ISU Extension and Outreach series explores many aspects of wellbeing

June 2, 2017, 12:20 pm | Phyllis Zalenski, Laura Sternweis

AMES, Iowa -- There's more to financial wellbeing than managing money. Research shows that other factors also influence how people feel about their financial situation, said Phyllis Zalenski, a human sciences specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

"Yes, it's important to pay your bills on time, understand your credit report, keep your financial accounts in balance and manage your investments. But that's not the whole picture," said Zalenski, who specializes in family finance.What About Me?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau talked to consumers across the country to learn what financial wellbeing meant to them. Based on those interviews, the bureau found that financial wellbeing included four elements:

  • Feeling in control
  • Capacity to absorb a financial shock
  • On track to meet goals
  • Flexibility to make choices

"Financial wellbeing is not based on income level. It’s more personal and based on satisfaction with your financial situation," Zalenski said.

Based on research, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau defines financial wellbeing as having financial security and financial freedom of choice, in the present and in the future.

Iowans can explore their sense of financial wellbeing during “What about Me? My Wellbeing,” a workshop series from ISU Extension and Outreach. In the financial session, participants learn strategies that have been shown to increase financial wellbeing. They also learn steps to improve their personal financial wellbeing, Zalenski said.

Other topics in the series include an introduction to wellbeing, social and emotional wellbeing, and physical wellbeing. Participants also discuss ways in which each area of wellbeing impacts the others.

"For example, having physical wellbeing may increase a person's financial wellbeing, because of lower healthcare costs or not missing work due to illness, which could reduce income," Zalenski said.

Sessions are delivered in 45 minute weekly segments and are offered through a wide variety of venues. For more information about the “What about Me: My Wellbeing,” series, contact an ISU Extension and Outreach county office or visit the website,

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