Financial wellness is defined by having the financial resources to meet practical needs and the knowledge to manage those resources. Among other outcomes, poor financial wellness can cause stress, high blood pressure, and disturbed sleep. When financial well-being isn’t addressed, it may have a negative effect on other areas of wellness. For instance, by making costs related to health care, healthy foods, or transportation to work or school unmanageable barriers are created to other resources needed for well-being. This webinar, hosted by the Program to Achieve Wellness, discusses the link between poverty and mental health and offers strategies for improving financial wellness and thereby positively impacting mental health outcomes. Presented by Drs. Margaret (Peggy) Swarbrick, Patricia Nemec, and Oscar Jiménez-Solomon, this presentation is a valuable resource for professionals and service providers who work with individuals experiencing poverty. 

Determining an individual’s degree of financial wellness can be accomplished through objective and subjective indicators. Objective indicators are measurable, such as one’s amount of money in the bank or spent on food. Subjective indicators are experience-based, such as satisfaction with finances. Addressing the measurable aspect of financial wellness can improve the financial experiences of an individual with poor financial wellness. Social determinants, such as community and culture, can negatively or positively impact one’s financial wellness. Individuals with serious mental illness or substance use disorders are more likely to have poor financial wellness due to a variety of factors, including barriers to employment and healthcare costs. 

Individuals experiencing poor financial wellness can improve this dimension of wellness by learning financial literacy. Financial literacy can help people set financial wellness goals, such as paying off a credit card bill or starting a savings account, improving their overall approach to their financial life through empowering, achievable, concrete steps. Improving financial wellness can reduce stress and encourage other healthy habits, such as purchasing healthier foods, addressing healthcare needs, and quitting smoking.  

To learn more about financial wellness, please see our financial wellness fact sheet.

This resource was first shared in 2018.