Financial Well Being

Published: April 2020

By: Ray Kirk, Ph.D., Federal Benefits Specialist

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has identified financial well-being as the ultimate measure of the success of financial literacy efforts. Financial literacy efforts traditionally have focused on gaining knowledge and applying that knowledge appropriately to make good financial decisions. Financial well-being is defined by CFPB “as the state of being wherein a person can fully meet current and ongoing financial obligations, can feel secure in their financial future and is able to make choices that allow enjoyment of life.”

CFPB studies have identified four factors that determine a person’s financial well-being.

They are:

  • Having control over your day-to-day, month-to-month finances. Managing your finances rather than having your finances manage you; the ability to cover your expenses and pay your bills.
  • Having the financial freedom to make choices that allow you to enjoy life. Being able to make choices that allow you to give meaning and purpose to life; increase your personal happiness by giving presents, taking a trip, going out, etc.
  • Having the capacity to absorb financial shock. Savings, emergency funds, or insurance are sufficient to pay for an emergency repair or expense, or a period of unemployment or illness.
  • Being on track to meet your financial goals. Having a formal or informal financial plan and actively working toward your financial goals.

CFPB has developed a 10 question online survey you can take to measure your current financial well-being and see steps you can take to improve it.

The survey is at:

You can learn more about CFPB’s work on financial well-being at: Financial Well-Being in America,

Dr. Kirk is a former Federal employee with over 40 years of Federal Service, 34 years of which were with the Office of Personnel Management. He was the Manager of the Benefit Officers Training and Development in Retirement Services for the last 12 years of his career.