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Financial wellness might seem out of reach if you’re currently experiencing financial hardship or are struggling to rebuild your credit after an unexpected life event. But achieving financial wellness — and accomplishing some long-term financial goals — is entirely possible. It just takes some time, planning, and perseverance.

There’s no set standard for financial wellness. What one person might consider a state of being financially healthy could be different from how someone else defines it.

If you’re ready to regain control of your financial health and start building to a point where you feel comfortable with your financial situation, here’s how to do it.

What Is Financial Wellness?

Although financial wellness means something different to everyone, the general concept is roughly the same. Simply put, financial wellness is a state of financial well-being regarding money.

For some people, that might mean being able to calmly cover everyday expenses like groceries, rent, or utilities. For others, it could mean being able to pay off debts — both good and bad debts.

Oftentimes, financial wellness also means seeing positive growth in your income and an overall reduction in bills. Once this happens, you can also start setting and achieving your immediate and long-term financial goals. These could include things like creating an emergency fund, saving up for a down payment on a house, or building up your credit.

Financial wellness — or financial well-being — is about achieving financial peace of mind. But it’s also about avoiding major financial pitfalls that keep you from accomplishing your life goals.

It might help to consider financial wellness as a journey rather than a destination. Throughout your journey, you can fine- tune your mindset and financial habits into a financially sound lifestyle that minimizes stress and prepares you for unforeseen emergencies.

You might still have difficulties on the way — like when you need to use a 401(k) emergency loan or another loan. But you’ll also become more prepared over time until you reach your version of peak financial wellness.

Core Elements of Financial Wellness

Financial wellness is tricky to quantify, so the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) created a scale designed to help people measure their financial well-being. The scale does not ask questions about your income or credit score. Instead, it asks how you feel about your present and future financial security and freedom of choice.

The Mindset

If you’re not sure where your financial health is at right now, but you know it’s not where it needs to be, consider these core elements below.

One of the biggest aspects of achieving financial wellness is having a healthy mindset regarding money. You might feel like you’re in a state of unwellness, especially if you’re having financial troubles or cannot get approved for a home loan or other financing you need. But you can still come out ahead even during the toughest times.

The first thing you should do is evaluate your views on money. The goal here is to develop a healthy relationship with money and your ability to manage your finances. After all, your financial situation should be a source of individual strength, not confusion or stress.

Getting to a healthy mindset and letting go of any unhealthy views about money is easier said than done. Even so, you can start building up the confidence and motivation you need by doing the following:

  • Ask yourself what your relationship with money is and why. Many people have an unhealthy mindset when it comes to money because of their environment growing up or because of their financial circumstances now. Figuring out your relationship with money can help you start changing your mindset.
  • Stop tying your money to your worth. It’s not always easy to separate your view of money and your view of yourself, but it’s sometimes necessary. You are not your net worth, income, debt, or credit score. Say you’re in a tough financial situation right now — perhaps you’ve taken out bad credit loans because of an emergency. That does not reflect on your worth as a person.
  • Start looking for a level of comfort with money. People often do not want to talk about their financial situation with others. But sometimes, this is the best thing you can do to get comfortable with the topic. Whether you’re struggling financially or in a good place, do not be afraid to share what’s going on with someone close to you.
  • Allow yourself to spend money. If you’re struggling to pay apartment rent or are dealing with payday loans or other extremely short-term loans, it makes sense to have a tight budget. But there are also times when it’s okay to spend a little money on something you want or need.
  • Improve your education. You might find that you need to make more money, and that’s okay. Perhaps you could take out a direct lender personal loan or installment loan to improve your education. This could also be a way of spending money for a good cause.

The Spending

Some people end up spending more than they should, especially when they’re stressed. But this can lead to taking out direct lender payday loans — or other personal bad credit loans — to pay for things like emergencies, furniture, or monthly bills. If you’re not careful, you could end up with more debt than you can manage.

So, while it’s okay to splurge now and then, sometimes the best thing you can do is cut back on spending. That way, you can start paying off what you owe, keep up with regular expenses, and reduce financial stress.

Start by looking at where your money goes. Even if you do not have a budget, review your bank statements and see how much money is going in and out of your accounts each month.

Also, write down any debts you have that require regular monthly payments. These could be health insurance payments, grocery bills, car loans, entertainment budgets, investments, life insurance payments, or rent. Some loans come with monthly or one-time payments — like loans for bad credit (e.g., bad credit online loans like payday loans). Calculate those, too.

Once you have written down all your expenses — loans and otherwise — you can add up your total income. You can then use this information to create a personal budget. If you find yourself overspending in certain areas, try to redirect that money to your other bills.

Reflect on the things that are causing you the most financial stress. From there, you can prioritize your spending — and savings — based on what will help you feel more financially stable again.

The Planning

Having a budget is a great way to set the foundation for financial wellness, but you also need a financial plan. Fortunately, you do not need to be rich to make a plan. Your financial plan is essentially the roadmap that gets you to where you want to be. It consists of milestones based on your priorities and a timeline that works for you. Here’s what your plan should include:

  • Your personal budget: There are many budget types, but most work by first calculating your income and expenses. From there, you can split your money into your wants, needs, and financial goals. Once you have a budget, you can better understand your spending habits. You can also start paying down debt and saving up for other things.
  • Short-term and long-term goals: Without goals, it’s hard to stay motivated, so set some financial goals for yourself. For example, do you want to save up for retirement or pay off debt? Do you want to improve your credit to get installment loans for a car or house? Do you need an unsecured personal loan for taxes, your small business or educational purposes so you can improve your job prospects? Make sure your goals are realistic so you do not stress yourself out. And remember, it’s okay to make changes as you go along.
  • Identify your core values: Everyone’s core values are a little bit different. Knowing your values can help you achieve your goals and prioritize what makes you happy.

Factors to Consider With Financial Wellness

Several life factors can challenge your financial health, including your cash flow, the money in your bank accounts, and your credit score. Some of these factors might appear suddenly, while others might creep up on you. Whatever the case, you can work with these factors to achieve financial wellness.

Cash Flow

Understanding your cash flow is one of the most critical steps to achieving financial wellness. You need to know what yours is before you can truly accomplish your financial goals.

Cash flow is essentially the amount of money coming in and going out every month. You can use your cash flow to predict your future expenses and income. In life, you might experience positive, negative, and neutral cash flow. Positive cash flow occurs when you have more money for things you want and need.

Negative cash flow is when you’re spending more than you have and are possibly incurring debt — such as when you lose a job or have sudden bills. Neutral cash flow is when you have exactly the right amount for your regular expenses — no more, no less. Having either negative or neutral cash flow can cause a lot of financial stress.

Once you know your cash flow, you can use it to create a budget. You can also decide whether to focus on improving your income, take out a cash loan to help in a pinch, or ask for help.

Bank Accounts

Your bank account might play a greater role in your financial wellness than you realize. It’s not just about having a secure place for your money. It’s also about the type — or types — of accounts you have. For example, most checking accounts do not earn much interest. But a high-yield savings account can help you build up your savings or emergency cash for when you need it. This can also help with long-term planning for things like retirement, taking a family vacation, or buying a house.

It’s also good to have a savings account in addition to a checking account. If you can transfer some of your paycheck to your savings account each month, it can grow and help prevent overspending.

Other types of accounts can also help you achieve financial health and bigger savings or investment goals. These include certificates of deposits (CDs) and money market accounts.

Credit Score

Your credit score — from Equifax, FICO, or Vantage Score — is a three-digit number based on your financial habits, particularly regarding loans and other types of credit. Things like making on-time payments and keeping your account balances low can help you build credit.

As your credit score improves, you could qualify for better financing options like unsecured personal loans online or other online loans. Loan requirements vary by state and lender, but you’ll typically need good credit for the best rates and terms.

Good credit can be helpful if an emergency arises and you need a quick loan and money now. There are loans for people with bad credit, too, like pawnshop loans or payday loans. But these can be expensive or come with short repayment terms that make them challenging to pay back. You should also look out for potential financial scams.

If you’re just starting, you might be one of the 26 million Americans who are credit invisible — people who have no credit score or extremely limited credit history. In that case, you might consider getting direct lender installment loans for bad credit or secured personal loans.

These loans can still come in handy if you need cash fast, but they have more relaxed loan requirements. This makes them easy loans to get. Some direct online lenders even report to the credit bureaus, which can help you build credit over time.

Wherever you’re at in your credit and financial journey, getting started now can help you along the path to financial wellness.

How to Improve Your Financial Wellness

Are you ready to improve your financial well-being now and in the future? Here are some tips to help you out.

Build an Emergency Fund

Not everything goes according to plan, so establishing an emergency fund as soon as possible is a good idea. One way to do this is to set up small automated deposits into a savings account. Over time, the money in that account will add up and be there for when you need it. Shoot to have 3-6 months’ worth of expenses saved up, but try not to overextend your budget.

Start Paying off Debt Strategically

Several strategies exist to consolidate debt, but two of the most common options are:

  • Debt avalanche method: This method works by tackling the debt with the largest interest rate first while making the minimum monthly payment on all other debts. Once the first debt is fully paid, you can move on to the debt with the second-highest interest rate. Repeat the process until all debt is gone.
  • Debt snowball method: With this method, you first pay off the debt with the smallest balance while only making the minimums on the other debts. Once that debt is gone, focus on the second smallest balance and repeat the process.

As you start paying down your debts, you’ll have more cash flow for other things — like creating an emergency fund or preparing for retirement.

Set up Automatic Payments

Missing payments could damage your credit score and lead to expensive late fees. If you’re worried about making payments on time, setting up automatic payments could help. This can help you keep up with anything from online installment loans to utility bills.

Before setting up automatic payments, ensure your bank account has enough money to cover them. Otherwise, you could end up with overdraft fees. And if the payment does not go through, you might have to pay additional late fees on that account.

An alternative to automatic payments is to set reminders for when your bills are due. This can help, especially if everything is not due simultaneously.

How to Set a Reasonable Budget — and Stick to It

With so many different budgets, it can be challenging to find the right one for you. Fortunately, these tips can not only help you create a reasonable budget but also help you stick to it.

Wait to Spend Money

If you see something you’d like but do not need, sleep on it for a couple of days. This can help you determine whether it’s a good idea to splurge on it. And, if you no longer want the thing as much, it’s probably better that you did not get it.

Live Below Your Means

Living below your means is not always easy, but it can help you achieve financial wellness and eliminate unnecessary stress. For example, you might consider biking to work, finding free gifts, or working from the library instead of a local cafe. Even if you find yourself with some extra cash, try to save it or use it to pay down debt rather than spend it on entertainment. Many people live at the top of their budget and have no emergency cash left over.

According to one study, around 39% of adults said they would have trouble covering a $400 surprise bill. Living below your means allows you to save up for emergencies rather than turn to cash advances or payday loans.

Sometimes, personal loans for bad credit or good credit borrowers are good, though. If you’re experiencing a hardship, it’s sometimes better to take out direct lender loans.

Use Less Than Your Credit Limit

Even if you qualify for a higher credit limit, that does not mean you should use it. The same goes for installment loans online or personal loans online — you should only borrow the amount you need. Otherwise, you could end up with more debt and higher monthly payments than you can handle.

Set a Money Challenge

A common budgeting challenge is the “no-spend” challenge. This is where you do not spend anything beyond what’s absolutely necessary. You could do this for a week, a month, or even longer. Whatever the case, you could end up saving a lot more money for when you need it.

Budget With a Friend

Make budgeting more interesting by doing it with a friend or family member. You can keep each other accountable and reduce spending at the same time. Plus, if you set some goals together, you could both benefit in the long run.

Plan Your Shopping Trips

Before you go shopping, whether it’s for food, clothes, electronics, school supplies, or something else, make a list. Having a list can make it easier to stick to your budget and limit overspending. Also, take advantage of sales, discounts, and coupons.

Cut Back on Unnecessary Subscriptions

Monthly subscriptions to things like Netflix or Amazon Prime can add up quickly when you’re not looking. Review your active accounts and see if there are any you’re not using. If there are, cancel them for some extra wiggle room in your budget.

Do Not Be Too Strict

It might be hard to treat yourself, especially if your income is limited, but it can help your mental and emotional well-being. Create a separate category within your budget for things you want if possible.

Even a small amount — say, $20 or $50 a month — can help keep you motivated and stay on track with your budget. Say, for example, you just finished paying off a fast loan from an online installment loan direct lender. Instead of taking that monthly payment and using it for another loan or expense, splurge one time.

You Can Have Financial Wellness

Achieving financial wellness requires some planning and a shift in mindset. But you should not rush to get it right. The most important thing is to get started on the journey and take the time you need to get to where you need to be.

Of course, you might still need a loan or other financial help even with a solid budget and financial plan. If you’re experiencing hardship, consider completing an online loan app for an installment loan. With a direct lender installment loan, you could cover unforeseen expenses like medical bills, sudden work layoffs, or other emergencies. Depending on the lender and loan type, you could also set up a repayment plan that works for you.

An installment loan may not be suitable for everyone or all situations. Before you apply for one, there are several things to consider. Ask yourself a few questions, such as:

  • How would a loan help? Think about why you need the funds. For example, is it for a one-time emergency or an ongoing issue? Make sure a loan is the best option for you.
  • How much do you need to borrow? Never borrow more than you need, or you could end up facing higher interest charges than you initially planned.
  • What are your long-term financial goals? A loan can help if you’re facing financial hardship, but it can also be helpful if you’re planning to pay for a big-ticket item like a wedding, the birth of a child, or a family vacation. Try to choose a loan that aligns with your other goals.
  • Are there other options available to you? Consider what other financing options exist. This could be asking a friend or family member for money or taking on a side gig or extra hours at work. It could also mean waiting until you save up enough money to cover whatever you need the loan for — except in the case of emergencies.
Why Jora Credit?
We are a state-licensed, direct lender providing online loans that give you access to the funds you need.
It’s easy to apply right from your phone, laptop or tablet – anywhere, anytime. And it only takes a couple minutes.
Plus, there's no prepayment fees if you want to pay off early and save some money on interest.
Accept your loan by 10:30 am Central time (Monday - Friday excluding holidays) and you can get your funds on the same day.*

Why Choose Jora Credit

Many online lenders are out there, but not all are created equal. When choosing a lender, consider the following factors.

  • Lender fees: Along with interest, some lenders charge additional fees like origination fees or prepayment penalties. An origination fee occurs when you first take out a loan and can increase your monthly payments. A prepayment penalty happens when you pay off a loan before the repayment term ends.
  • Eligibility criteria: Many lenders require borrowers to have good credit, steady income, and a maximum debt load. You might still qualify for a loan even if you do not meet these requirements, but you might need a cosigner to back the loan. Unfortunately, not all lenders accept cosigners, though.
  • Licensing: The lender you choose must be licensed to operate in your state. If they are not, you’ll need to find one that is. Also, lenders
  • Online ratings: A lender’s online reputation is crucial because it can help you determine whether they’re worth working with or not. Check what other people say about any lender you’re considering to get an idea of what you can expect if you borrow from them.
  • Loan rates and terms: Some lenders are transparent about their typical rates, terms, loan requirements, and so on. You’ll often see your exact terms during the application process. Use a loan calculator to determine whether a loan fits into your budget.

Now that you know the main things to look for in a lender, the next step is finding the right one. If you’re still considering your options, Jora could help.

Here are the main reasons to choose Jora Credit:

  • Unlike many bad credit loan lenders, Jora does not charge any hidden fees — that means no prepayment, application, or origination fees.
  • Jora is a state-licensed direct lender that offers loans and personal lines of credit in 11 states.
  • The application process only takes a few minutes and can be completed entirely online from the comfort of your couch — all you need is internet access and a phone, tablet, or laptop.
  • You can borrow up to $4,000 from Jora, depending on your state of residence, credit score, and the information in your application.
  • If you apply by 10:30 a.m. Central Time (Monday to Friday, excluding holidays), you could receive funds that same day.*
  • Although Jora does check your credit, we also consider other factors like your income when making a lending decision.
  • Jora has an Excellent rating on Trustpilot with more than a 1,000 customer reviews.

Learn More About Online Loans

You may be wondering what an installment loan is, how these quick loans online work, or how they can help you get back on your feet during tough times.

An installment loan is a type of loan that you pay back over a set period — usually over several months or years. Each payment will typically include the principal balance, interest, and any lender fees. The monthly payment amount is generally fixed, meaning it does not change from month to month. Common types of installment loans include auto loans, personal loans, mortgage loans, and emergency loans.

You can use a direct lender installment loan — like the ones from Jora — for many things. Since the time to funding is usually quick, installment loans can be a helpful tool when you need extra cash fast for emergency expenses. These loans are also helpful for other costs, including:

  • Vehicle repairs or maintenance
  • Home repairs or renovations
  • Medical expenses
  • Big-ticket items (e.g., computers)
  • Wedding expenses
  • Family vacation

If you’re interested in getting one of these online loans with Jora, the application process is easy. Here’s how it works:

  1. Set up an online account and complete the online application. You may need to provide personal or identifying information, such as your full name, SSN, date of birth, email address, state of residence, and driver's license or state identification number. You might also need your bank’s routing number and checking account. The entire process takes a few minutes.
  2. Submit the loan application. Jora makes a credit decision on most applications within a few minutes of receiving them (on business days).
  3. Wait for approval and funding. If approved, you’ll typically receive the funds in your bank account either the same or the next business day.
  4. Start making payments. Use the funds as needed and make your first payment on the scheduled date.

Frequently asked questions

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No matter where you are in your journey to financial wellness, remember that it’s okay if you need help sometimes. As you work toward your long-term goals, remember that you can apply for an online loan if needed. And, if you’re ready to get started, apply for an installment loan through Jora now!