As the wellness wheel shows us, optimal wellness isn't just a matter of having good physical health. Wellness encompasses emotional, spiritual, intellectual, social, environmental, and, yes, financial health.

Lots of us muddle along from paycheck to paycheck, sometimes putting something aside for the future, sometimes going a bit into debt because of unexpected expenses. But are we really financially well?

Some signs of financial wellness include:

  • Not living beyond your means
  • Having an emergency fund with expenses for six months
  • Being comfortable with money and not letting it dictate the quality of your life
  • Developing goals for the future and a plan to get there
  • Using credit cards wisely (paying off each month)
  • Using some of your money to support causes you believe in

We can get a good start on moving toward financial health by watching expenses. Taking steps like eating out less often, checking in with phone and cable plans to see if less expensive deals can be had, borrowing books and DVDs from libraries instead of buying them, haunting thrift stores and garage sales, walking or biking short distances instead of driving.

If you want to get help with your financial wellness, put October 22, 2016 on your calendar. That is National Financial Planning Day. You can meet with a financial planner and get free one-on-one advice on topics like budgeting, investment, retirement, paying for college, and more. 

If your employer offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), tap into that resource. EAP's help employees with financial tools and advice, like free will kits and more. 

Another free resource is the government's website My Money ( It offers basic advice, tools, and quizzes. It's a good place to get started if you are a financial newbie.

Since so much of our stress stems from financial pressures, making peace with money and getting ahead on your future can help you live a happier life.