What is Financial Wellness?

By Sallie Krawcheck

It makes sense that wellness in all its forms — physical, spiritual, emotional — is having a moment right now. Three legs to the stool, so to speak.

But what we don’t talk about nearly enough when it comes to wellness is, IMO, the most important topic of all, especially for women+: financial wellness.

OK, this is the part where you might be thinking, Huh? What’s financial wellness? Did you just make that up?

No, I didn’t. But believe me, I get why it’s not super obvious since … like I said, we don’t talk about it nearly enough.

Now, I want to be clear that we’re talking about financial wellness, not financial independence. At its most basic, financial wellness is a practice that helps you feel good about your money. Unlike some other wellness fads, it isn't a gimmick — one that would, say, allow you to retire at a very young age or make a fortune in crypto. At Ellevest, we define financial wellness as knowing what you have, knowing where you’re headed, and feeling good about it.

Think about the last time you had a money win, as we like to call them. Maybe you budgeted (and thus saved) for that European beach vacation. Or negotiated your first raise. Or paid off your student loans ... three years early and wow. that. felt. good. All of those things count as practicing financial wellness. It’s reveling in the positive experience that your financial choices pave the way for.

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:

  • Your foundation: Think of the core building blocks that help you achieve or maintain financial security, like checking your balances and spending less than what you earn (or working toward it).

  • Your plan: This is the roadmap — timeline and strategies — to help get you and your money where you want to go in life.

  • Your mindset: This is all about having a healthy relationship with not only your money, but also your own ability to manage it. Of course, this can start with unlearning all the harmful lies told to (and about) women and money.

The truth is, practicing financial wellness is more urgent for women than ever.

For starters, women earn less than men do — and we stop getting raises a decade earlier. Women also face the pink tax, more debt, and do a hell of a lot more unpaid labor. And then there’s the fact that men tend to invest more of their money than women do. As a result, women only own an average of 32 cents for every dollar white men own. For women of color, it’s less than one penny.

Today, 90% of articles on money targeted to women are negative. Many of them send the message that your money problems spring from the fact that you spend too much. As for the ones that aren’t negative … well, I browsed through some of the top websites for women late last week, and the first I came across was an article on what a certain travel exec wears to work. (In case you were wondering, in comparison, 72% of articles on money for men are positive and about growing money.)

This might be sort of funny if this wasn’t so important. Money is women’s #1 source of stress. Without financial wellness, the foundation of our broader wellness is unsteady.

But the payoff is huge. Because practicing financial wellness is in turn a solution to the stress that money causes: Simply taking action on your money is the key driver of reducing that stress.

The Ellevest Magazine is full of our team’s best advice and knowledge, plus we have live workshops, email courses, and other tools you can use to learn more. Ellevest gives you access to those tools, plus our gender-aware investing platform. And, of course, our financial planners can always help you put a plan in place.

And the best part of practicing financial wellness? You can start at any time, no matter how much you know about money (or how much you have). We’re here to help you do well for yourself.

So, tell us: What does financial wellness mean to you?

Sallie Krawcheck Signature

PS: Ready to dive in? Check out our Guide to Practicing Financial Wellness.


© 2023 Ellevest, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

All opinions and views expressed by Ellevest are current as of the date of this writing, are for informational purposes only, and do not constitute or imply an endorsement of any third party’s products or services.

Information was obtained from third-party sources, which we believe to be reliable but are not guaranteed for accuracy or completeness.

The information provided should not be relied upon as investment advice or recommendations, does not constitute a solicitation to buy or sell securities, and should not be considered specific legal, investment, or tax advice.

The information provided does not take into account the specific objectives, financial situation, or particular needs of any specific person. Investing entails risk, including the possible loss of principal, and past performance is not predictive of future results.

Ellevest, Inc. is an SEC-registered investment adviser. Ellevest fees and additional information can be found at

A newsletter you’ll love

Get all the news, advice, and must-know info on women, money, and career.

Sallie Krawcheck

Sallie Krawcheck is the Founder & CEO of Ellevest.