September is self-improvement month, and many Ohioans feel they could stand to improve their financial wellness.

In an Ohio Credit Union League 2018 consumer survey, respondents were asked to rate their financial wellness on a scale from one (lowest) to five (highest). The average response was 3.48. And a majority of respondents, 88.08 percent, admitted to having financial weak spots.

Ohio isn’t far from national trends. According to the U.S. Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection’s “Financial Well-Being in America” survey, U.S. adults on average rate their financial well-being as a 54 on a scale from zero to 100.

The study found Americans with less income reported lower levels of financial wellness. Scores of 50 or less tended to come from respondents with a high probability of experiencing material hardship, meaning they struggle to afford basic food and shelter. On the other hand, respondents who could easily afford the basics tended to give themselves financial wellness scores of 61 or more.

Experiences with credit also contribute to a person’s sense of financial wellness, according to the same study. Someone who has been denied credit or who had been contacted by a debt collector will likely score themselves as having a lower level of financial well-being.

Unfortunately, feeling financially unwell can affect more than consumers’ wallets. In a study from the American Psychological Association, nearly 72 percent of American adults reported feeling stressed about money at least some of the time and nearly a quarter said they experienced “extreme stress” about their financial situation in the last month.

Stress at that level isn’t healthy. Chronic stress can cause headaches, weight gain, and even heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. The American Psychological Association also pointed out research that shows stress associated with financial problems strains cognitive abilities, meaning the person feeling financially unwell is more likely to make decisions that continue to lead them into unfavorable financial situations.

But there’s a silver lining. Regardless of income or credit score, the Bureau Consumer Financial Protection’s study found people who seek training and become financially literate tend to give themselves higher financial well-being scores. Here are some tips to help improve your financial wellness score.

  • Create a plan. Decide where you want your finances to take you and compare that to your current financial situation. Write down all the steps to reach your financial goal and assign a time period to achieve each one. Reward yourself periodically as you come closer to your goal.
  • Automate savings. It’s a lot easier to resist spending money if you never see it hit your checking account. Set up automatic transfer each paycheck from your checking account to savings. Experts suggest aiming to set away six months’ worth of income for emergencies. It’s also wise to put about 10 percent of your income toward retirement.
  • Carry cash. Swiping a credit or debit card can make spending money feel a little too easy. Pulling out dollars for each purchase forces you to be more aware of how much you’re spending. Take out only a set amount of money each week to help stay within your budget and cut down on impulsive spending.
  • Improve your credit score. A poor credit score will hold you back financially, even if you’ve cultivated healthy budgeting and spending skills. Pay off lingering debts and be sure to pay off all new expenses promptly to improve your credit score. You may want to consider setting up automated bill pay, so you don’t accidentally miss payment dates.
  • Build financial literacy. You can’t be financially well if you don’t know how to be. Consider utilizing podcasts, books, articles, and shows that teach financial concepts. For a more hands-on approach, research financial literacy events or classes hosted by credit unions or other financial institutions in your area. Several credit unions in Ohio have certified financial counselors who are trained specifically to help improve financial wellness.

Day Air Credit Union exists to help their members reach financial wellness! For more information, visit dayair.org!

Checking Accounts

Premium Perks

Freedom Checking

CashBack Checking

Direct Deposit

More

Savings Accounts

Savings Accounts

Super Saver

Money Market

h

Certificates

HSA

Cards

Debit Card

Low Rate Credit Card

Rewards Credit Card

CU Rewards

Card Controls

Tools

Mobile Deposit

Online Banking

Pay Someone

eAlerts

Compare Rates

Vehicle Loans

Auto Loans

Refinance Your Car

Motorcycle & Jet Ski Loans

Boat & RV Loans

Mortgage & Home Loans

Mortgages

Refinance Your House

Home Equity Loans

Construction Loans

Personal

Personal Loans

,

StretchPay Loans

Student Loans

Credit Cards

Tools

Apply for a Loan

Pay a Loan

Online Bill Pay

Chat With Us

Financial Planning

Investments

i

Estate Planning

401(k) Rollover

Retirement Planning

Day Air Insurance

Auto Insurance

Home Insurance

Identity Theft Protection

Life Insurance

More Products & Services

RetireMEDiQ

Financial Counseling

Credit Reports

Reorder Checks

More

Online Banking

Online Banking

Online Bill Pay

Login to Online Banking

Mobile Banking

Mobile Banking

Mobile Deposit

Pay Someone

Text Banking

Tools

Apply for a Loan

Pay a Loan

eAlerts

Mobile Pay

Chat With Us

Accounts

Business Checking

Business Savings

Business Certificates

Cards

Business Debit Card

Business Credit Card

Loans

Commercial Loans

Term Loans

PPP Loans

Line of Credit

Services

Business Bill Pay

Tools

Online Business Banking

Login to Business Banking

Login to PIB MLO

Business Banking App

Join Day Air

Why Choose Day Air

Membership Eligibility

Annual Member Savings

Compare Rates

Join Day Air

Community

Community Involvement

Financial Education

Dayton VA Medical Center

Dayton Dragons

Contests & Sweepstakes

About

Press & News

Newsletters & Reports

Videos

Careers

Helpful Resources