10 Habits of Financially Happy People


Financial happiness doesn't come easy when your money isn't right. Debt, overdrawn accounts, and too little income can drain you emotionally.

This situation is all too common. But some people have discovered how to be financially happy. What's their secret? It really isn't a mystery. In most cases, it's all about adopting smarter financial habits — something anyone can learn. (See also: 12 Habits of Responsible Credit Card Users)

1. They Take Steps to Reach Goals

Wanting to find your financial happiness is one thing, taking steps to achieve this is an entirely different story.

Financially happy people don't wait for money to fall into their lap. They pave their own path. Here's the thing, if all you do is sit back and moan about your finances, things may never change. Identify where you need to make improvements, and then create a realistic financial plan that works for you. If you need a little help, get a financial planner. (See also: How to Create a Financial Plan)

2. They Spend Within a Budget

These individuals realize that there are limits to what they can do — financially speaking. Like anyone, they would probably enjoy shopping whenever they like, going on vacations whenever they like, and spending money however they like. But this isn't the reality for most people, and financially happy people know this. They stick with a budget, which is how they avoid unnecessary debt and have enough income to pay bills.

3. They Pay Credit Balances and Maintain Good Credit

Being financially happy starts with being financially responsible. These individuals understand the dangers of credit cards and the importance of good credit. They may only use a credit card when absolutely necessary and pay off the balance each month. Their habit of timely payments and only buying what they can afford contributes to low debt and a higher credit score. (See also: 10 Ways to Negatively Affect Your Credit Score)

4. They Plan for Financial Misfortune

It may look as if financially happy people have zero financial worries. But they know that misfortune can happen at anytime, and they take steps to protect themselves and their families against unforeseen events.

For example, they will have life insurance to protect their spouses and children in the event of an untimely death. And they will have set aside a cash reserve as backup in a financial crisis. Careful preparation provides peace of mind. (See also: What Is Life Insurance?)

5. They Don't Define Success by the Size of Their Bank Accounts

While these individuals work hard to care for themselves and family, happiness and success isn't necessarily determined by the number of zeros in their bank accounts. They recognize the danger of basing success on a dollar amount, as this type of thinking may trigger dissatisfaction. Financial happiness comes from knowing that they're on the right path and making responsible choices with their money.

6. They Find Satisfaction in What They Have

Financially happy people live within their means and ignore the temptation to keep up with everybody else. Income levels vary and they realize that keeping up with the Joneses can bring more headaches than joy. They do what they can according to their income and they're content with their life — even if it means driving a regular car and living in a smaller house.

7. They Control Impulse Spending

Impulsive spending can bust budgets and drain finances. A person who's financially happy doesn't shop on a whim and know that this is the faster way "not" to reach financial goals. They typically plan purchases and only spend if it's in the budget. (See also: How to Stop Impulse Buying)

8. They Are Well-Informed Borrowers

Whether they're applying for a credit card or applying for a mortgage loan, they always compare different products and do their homework to ensure they're getting the best deal. If they don't feel comfortable with a particular offer, they're not afraid to walk away.

9. They Haven't Avoided Retirement Planning

If you're in your 20s or early 30s, retirement planning may be the farthest thing from your mind. But if you want to be financially happy in your later years, you need to start now. (See also: Retirement Planning for 20-Somethings)

Retirement planning isn't something to put off until you're in your mid-30s. The age that you start preparing dictates your quality of life in retirement. Financially happy people think long-term and they know that the decisions they make today have a major impact on their financial future.

10. They Don't Give Up

Even with a good financial plan, setbacks can happen. Losing your job and living off savings can wipe out everything you've stashed over the past couple of years. And unexpected bills or illnesses can delay goals, such as paying off debt and buying a home. However, a financially happy person knows that life happens and they don't quickly throw in the towel. They believe in comebacks and do whatever it takes to reach their goals.

Do you have more habits of financially happy people that you'd like to add? Let me know in the comments below.

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Guest's picture

Planning for financial misfortune is soooo important. Just got an expensive reminder of that last month when our furnace quit working on a cold weekend day (of course). $300, but thankfully had that plus a little extra in emergency fund.

Guest's picture
Kelly C

Good article. Having an emergency fund and health insurance are the only things I consider the reasons for my modest success. It only takes a sprained ankle, a car accident, or unpaid absence from work for fall into the payday lending trap.