How to improve your financial well being

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Financial well-being is hard to capture in a single number. A great credit score, for example, means that you can borrow money cheaply, but it doesn’t guarantee that your debt will be manageable.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, after rigorous research, developed a scale to measure well-being that considers financial distress, financial security and the capability to enjoy life.

The CFPB findings highlight that a safety net of savings has a strong influence on financial stability. Start with these basics:

1. Build an emergency fund. You can start small. Having as little as $250 in the bank can protect you from going into debt over every unexpected expense that pops up.

2. Plan. Knowing how much money is coming in and having a plan for it helps achieve goals faster.

3. Pay down/off debt. The Debt Payoff Calculator lets you view all your debts in one place. See how paying a little more than before can make a big difference — and can help you pick a payoff strategy.

Once you’ve tackled those three tasks, you’ll be able to set longer-term goals, such as saving for retirement.

Experts agree, you are financially healthy if you can cover all of your needs, some of your wants and save for the future.