When you hear the word “wellness,” you might think about meditating before you reach for that coffee in the morning (or a matcha latte, if you’re really going for it) or committing to a daily walk. But what we don’t think or talk about nearly enough when it comes to wellness is, IMO, the most important topic of all, especially for women: financial wellness.
This is the part where you might be thinking…Huh? Did she just make that up?
I promise, I didn’t. Prioritizing financial wellness is the best thing you can do for every aspect of your well-being. Without it, the foundation of your broader wellness is not sturdy.
Recently, Ellevest conducted a survey among 2,026 people ages 18–69 in the U.S., and we found that 67 percent of women worry about their financial health at least once a week. And 49 percent of women said that their mental and emotional wellness has suffered because of financial stress.
That’s why we’re declaring October 13 to be the first Financial Wellness Day! Because practicing financial wellness is a solution to the stress that money causes: Simply taking action on your money issues is the key driver of reducing that stress. And that’s exactly what financial wellness is—taking action.
At Ellevest, we define financial wellness as knowing what you have, knowing where you’re headed, and feeling good about it. And just like there are different components of physical wellness (eating well, drinking water, moving your body, etc.), there are different components to practicing financial wellness, too. We define them as:
Think of the core building blocks that help you achieve or maintain financial security—such as checking your account balances and spending less than the amount you earn (or working toward that goal).
This is the roadmap—the timeline and strategies—to help get you and your money where you want to go in life.
This is all about having a healthy relationship with not only your money, but also your ability to manage it. Of course, this can start with unlearning all the unhealthy and harmful money lies women are told pretty much from birth.
If this all sounds a little, I don’t know, like I’m trying to sell you on the financial equivalent of a sound bath or something, let me give you some examples of what practicing financial wellness looks like in real life.
Maybe you negotiated your first raise and a title bump. Or paid off your student loans three years early and Wow. That. Felt. Good. Or you decided to cancel that subscription you haven’t used in months and set up automatic deposits into an investment account. All of those things count as practicing financial wellness. It means reveling in the positive experience that your financial choices pave the way for.
The truth is that, lately, many women aren’t doing much reveling when it comes to their financial health. It makes sense that women are experiencing more anxiety around money than ever before. For starters, women earn less than men do—and we tend to stop getting raises a decade earlier. Women also invest less than men do and as a result, women only own an average of 32 cents of every dollar that white men own. For women of color, it’s less than one penny.
And then there’s the pandemic, during which women played social safety net—many juggling work and homeschooling, experiencing setbacks in their careers, or even losing jobs. Plus, 49 percent of women we surveyed are literally losing sleep over their finances. So we know financial stress has serious effects on your mental and physical health.
Many women shy away from investing and taking action on their money because we have these blockers—we think it’s too time consuming, or we think we’re not good at money, or it’s going to take forever to get where we want to go. And unfortunately, there’s no clock on the wall that says: Not getting your credit card paid off by this date will cost you *this much.* There’s often no catalyst for us just to sit down and do the damn thing.
It’s also why we’re bringing financial wellness to you and inviting Marie Claire readers (and your friends) to sign up for a free Ellevest workshop led by a CFP® professional to understand your current spending, reframe your money mindset, define your financial goals, and more.
We also believe everyone deserves financial wellness. And we'd like to help you find it at Ellevest. Here’s one month free and $20 to get started with code DOWELL.
Happy Financial Wellness Day. (You got this.)
Ellevest is giving Marie Claire readers $20 to start investing today. Go forth and invest!
Sallie Krawcheck is the CEO and co-founder of Ellevest, a financial company built by women, for women. She is the former CFO of Citi, and the former CEO of Merrill Lynch and of Smith Barney.