People Who Are Happy With Their Personal Finances Make These 3 Moves More Often


Do you know what makes the biggest difference between people being happy or unhappy with their personal finances? According to a recent survey from Wells Fargo and The Female Quotient (The FQ), people who are happy about their money situation are significantly more likely to experience certain achievements and money moves.

Let’s look at the top three priority money moves that could make the biggest difference to your financial happiness, according to survey data.

1. Making more money

Being able to make enough money to support yourself and your loved ones can make a big difference in your financial happiness. Survey data from Wells Fargo and The FQ found that:

  • Among people who are “happy” with their financial situation, 58% had earned enough money to support themselves/support their families during the past year.
  • Among people who are “unhappy” with their finances, only 20% said that they had earned enough money during the past year.

This “happiness gap” of 38% was the biggest difference between financially happy and unhappy people. This survey insight shows how powerful it can be to earn a good enough income to pay your bills and provide for your loved ones — and how painful it can feel when you don’t.

If you want to boost your earning power in 2024, you should start by looking for opportunities at your job to get a pay raise or promotion. If your company is being less generous with pay raises, look for other opportunities in your career field. Or look at ways to increase your professional value to more confidently ask for a raise, or consider a career change.

Another way to raise your income is to start a side hustle. Side hustles take time and effort, and not everyone has a flexible schedule or enough energy to make extra money on the side. But if you can make extra cash with a side hustle, it feels energizing and inspiring to see that money coming into your bank account.

2. Having emergency savings

According to the survey from Wells Fargo and The FQ, among financially “happy” people, 48% had an emergency savings fund. But only 11% of financially “unhappy” people could say the same. Having emergency savings (or not) is related to a “happiness gap” of 37% — the second biggest difference-maker, according to the survey.

During the past few years of fast-rising prices and stress-driven “doom spending,” many Americans have depleted their savings accounts. If you want to reverse this trend in 2024, consider signing up for a budgeting app. Or find creative ways to save money, like hosting food prep parties with friends instead of spending money on restaurants.

3. Having good credit

The third biggest difference-maker in financial happiness, according to the Wells Fargo/The FQ survey, was having a good credit score:

  • 65% of financially “happy” people said that their credit score was good.
  • Only 29% of financially “unhappy” people had a good credit score.

This is another big difference between people who are happy and unhappy with their personal finances. Having good credit (or not) represents a happiness gap of 36%.

Want to improve your personal finances? You might want to start by improving your credit score. Having good credit is like getting welcomed into a velvet-rope nightclub where everyone is getting slightly better service and special perks. People with higher credit scores are more likely to save money on loan interest (by getting lower APRs) and qualify for the best rewards credit cards. Having a higher credit score can even help you save money on auto insurance, get hired, or get approved for renting a home.

A good first step for increasing your credit score is to sign up for a credit monitoring service. These tools can help you understand why your credit score is what it is and make better-informed decisions about how to use your credit in the way that helps you the most. You can also sign up for credit-building products like Credit Sesame’s Sesame Credit Builder, or a secured credit card.

Bottom line

The recent survey from Wells Fargo and The FQ found the top three money moves that can make the biggest difference in financial happiness. People who are happy with their personal finances are much more likely to have a good enough income to support themselves, an emergency savings fund, and a good credit score.

If you want to feel better about your money in 2024, you might want to start by prioritizing those three areas: Go for a pay raise or start a side hustle to increase your income, boost your savings account balance, and build your credit.

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