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This is proprietary research conducted by Northwestern Mutual in 2008. Use of this information is intended for reference. Northwestern Mutual's recent proprietary research is available here.


Seven Financial Habits Study, conducted for Northwestern Mutual, sought to explore the connections between financial and physical fitness. Specifically, the study helps to explain how financial behavior and attitudes of individuals with above-average income are related to health and wellness perceptions. (Conducted 2008)

Some of the findings include the following:

  • Those who feel financially secure are most likely to report being happy and least likely to report “too much stress.” Those who rate themselves least happy also rate themselves lowest on financial security and feeling in control over financial tasks.
  • Males feel more secure, feel more in control of financial management tasks and are more satisfied with their progress toward achieving financial goals.
  • Females attach more importance to feeling financially secure, and they say they are happier. They report more stress but say they are in better health and make healthier diet choices. Females are more likely to work with a local financial advisor.
  • Hispanics feel more personal control over investing for the future, and they are more satisfied with their progress toward achieving their financial goals.

Of the people who feel the most financially secure and less stressed, the study identified seven ways they’ve taken control of their finances. They’re most likely to:

  • Have a financial plan.
  • Have short-term and long-term financial goals.
  • Be taking active steps to achieve their financial goals.
  • Have taken steps to protect their family from financial misfortune.
  • Pay off their credit cards every month and have good credit standing.
  • Spend within their budgets.
  • And work with a financial professional.

For more information about The Seven Financial Habits Study, download the full report.