When it comes to feelings about finances, working Americans are practically split down the middle, according to a recent study.
Fifty-five percent of employed Americans feel they are on the right track to achieving financial well-being, while the other 45 percent feel they are not headed in the right direction, according to the 2016 Lincoln Financial Group Measuring Optimism, Outlook and Direction (M.O.O.D.) of America study.
So what are those individuals on the right track doing so well? The study found five key factors — behaviors and influencers — in their lives that correlate to positive feelings about money.
“Right trackers” differ from their counterparts who are not on the right track because:
• They are more likely to have created formal financial plans — more than 70 percent of them, in fact.
• They are forward-looking in general, with nearly 100 percent saying they are focused on the future. Also, 90 percent of those in the “right track” camp say they feel in control of their lives.
• They exercise more. Those with positive feelings about money tend to be active. About 80 percent of this group exercises at least once a week, and typically more often. Compare that with those who are not on the right track — just 60 percent of that segment works out on a consistent basis. Physical health can correlate to financial health.
• They’re more likely to feel good about themselves. Financial health and emotional health go hand-in-hand, too. Those on the right track are more likely than their counterparts to say they are optimistic because they feel good about themselves and their relationships with family and friends. They’re also positive about their careers and their relationships with coworkers.
• They take advantage of workplace benefits. Indeed, the more benefits you enroll in through the workplace, the better you will feel financially, suggests the study.
Beyond health insurance and retirement savings, “right-trackers” are enrolling in insurance plans to cover dental and vision care, as well as life insurance and disability insurance (which can help replace a portion of your paycheck while you recover from an injury or illness). They’re also taking advantage of other nonmedical benefits that can help boost financial security, such as accident insurance and critical illness insurance, which can help cover expenses that medical insurance does not, like high deductibles, or day-to-day expenses such as food or mortgage payments.
The future is unknown, but certain insurance coverages offered at work can help safeguard you against a broad scope of unexpected expenses, and can help you feel and be more financially secure. This is something to think about during annual open enrollment for medical insurance and beyond.
Feeling good about your finances is about the big picture, not just your bank account. From a healthy lifestyle to a positive attitude, taking a cue from those who are on the “right track” may help you get your footing on the path to financial well-being.