Jan 10 2013

Mind over Money: Measuring Health and Happiness among Credit Union Members


It's true: Mental well being and financial well being go hand in hand.

This report plots the interrelationships between financial capability and psychological well-being among a sample of 1,600 adult credit union members in the United States. Not surprisingly, the findings suggest that members who appear to have lower financial capability are also likely to be less happy and more stressed, and have poorer general health and lower self-efficacy. That’s the discouraging part, but the inverse is also true: Healthy financial capability correlates with overall health. And that presents an opportunity for credit unions, which can improve members’ financial capability and, by extension, their overall well-being.

The author created four member profiles with a two-step cluster analysis. The clusters examine how organized respondents feel they are when it comes to managing their money, how much they use their credit union, and how well they make ends meet. Other factors such as stress levels, age, and self-efficacy were also used in the clustering process.

The more organized members feel they are with managing money day to day, the more they appear to be less stressed, to be happier, and to have better general health. Additionally, it is crucial that members have adequate self-efficacy (i.e., belief in their own abilities) in order to manage and take care of their finances effectively. The research demonstrates that the greater the level of self-efficacy possessed by members, the more likely they are to experience better general health.

  • Gender splits are real. The data suggest (with statistical significance) that female members generally believe less in their own abilities than males and that they are also more stressed and unhappier than males.
  • Middle-aged and younger adults need more help. From analy-sis of age, adult members aged 44 years or under have signifi-cantly lower financial capability and psychological well-being than older members
  • Using multiple institutions is linked to higher capability. Those who reported using another institution in addition to their credit union were likelier to report better overall financial and psychological health.
Report Number 286