How Wealth is Different From Financial Wellness

By Sallie Krawcheck

At Ellevest, we’re spending a lot of time these days thinking about financial wellness. Given that money is women’s #1 source of stress, financial wellness is critical in helping us live full lives — in fact, it’s so important that there’s only so much physical wellness, emotional wellness, and spiritual wellness we can achieve without it.

Financial wellness can mean different things to different people. We broadly think about it as 1) knowing what you have, 2) knowing where you’re going, and 3) feeling good about it.

What is it not? It’s not financial independence. In fact, there are many people who have achieved financial independence but haven’t given a thought to financial wellness.

The fear of financial destitution is a huge fear for many women, regardless of wealth. That’s probably because we women have been bombarded with a lifetime of negative messages around money, and in particular the scarcity of money (“clip those coupons, ladies, and stop buying those frivolous lattes”). In fact, 65% of financial articles in women’s magazines describe women as excessive spenders. (And lest you think that personal finance journalists are just a dour lot, 70% of money articles directed at men emphasize making money and investing.)

So the path to financial wellness begins with number one above: knowing what you have. OK, check.

Step 2 is knowing where you are going. This means not just having a financial and investing plan — but one that’s specifically designed to help you reach your life goals. And seeing those numbers on a piece of paper or computer screen can go a long way to rid you of that doom-and-gloom image. So another check here.

After that, it’s Step 3 that can be so important for successful women: feeling good about their wealth.

For many women, this can be achieved when they’re able to align their actions around money with their values. I’ll type that again because those words can carry a lot of meaning: when they’re able to align their actions around money with their values.

One way to do this is through ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investing, a type of impact investing. (It’s worth noting that women are more than twice as likely as men to say it's “extremely important” that the companies they invest in integrate ESG factors.) Another is investing with a “gender lens,” such as in companies that have practices and policies that advance women. Another is doing business with women- or BIPOC-led businesses. It can also be achieved by not doing business with companies whose senior leadership falls short of the mark on diversity, and by supporting non-profits that resonate with you. You can even set up a donor-advised fund and invest it for impact, to multiply the impact that your money can have over time, by investing it first for impact and then donating it.

So you’re going to be hearing a lot about financial wellness from us going forward … because this is quite literally what Ellevest was built for. The Ellevest Private Wealth Management team can look at your current portfolio to see if your investments are truly supporting the things you care about — like gender and racial equity, and climate and labor issues — and to make sure they’re working together to support your overall financial goals.

Ready to dive in? Get started with an advisor today to give your portfolio a checkup.

Sallie Krawcheck Signature


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Sallie Krawcheck

Sallie Krawcheck is the Co-Founder & CEO of Ellevest. Her life’s mission is to help women to reach their financial and professional goals.