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Global Financial Wellness Survey

Measuring financial wellness

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To better understand financial wellness of people around the world, our comprehensive survey posed financial and behavioural questions to working households in the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, China, Hong Kong* and Canada.

Defining Financial Wellness

We believe financial wellness is holistic and multi-layered and our survey assessed objective and subjective inputs across four key domains: Budgeting, Debt, Savings and Protection.

Budgeting

Spending within one’s means is the foundation upon which financial wellness is built. Maintaining a budget and a positive cash flow are necessary (though not sufficient) precursors to managing debt, saving for the future, investing and protecting against risk.

Savings

To achieve financial wellness beyond the here-and-now, individuals must take control of their debt and save and invest for the future. This includes long-term savings and investing (saving for retirement, for example) but also saving for short-term goals such as home repairs or holidays.

Debt

High levels of debt, and monthly debt repayment obligations, relative to income can present a considerable barrier to savings. All else equal, higher interest borrowing is of greatest concern. Prudent use of credit may be a good way to build a positive credit profile and thereby improve access to credit and potentially lower future borrowing rates.

Protection

Financial wellness requires not only managing, accumulating, and investing money appropriately but also insuring against potential losses, be that a temporary or permanent financial loss or a loss of financial control. Without adequate emergency savings and/or financial protection against catastrophic health events, disability or property loss, one’s financial situation can very quickly move from comfortable to distressed.

 

Understanding Fidelity’s Financial Wellness Score

The Fidelity Financial Wellness Score uses a consistent analytical framework across the regions while using modelling assumptions that are appropriate for each region. The Score combines objective criteria – such as their level of savings and how they manage expenses – with subjective criteria, such as how they feel about their finances.

How is the score calculated?

Each domain contributes a maximum of 25 points to the overall maximum score of 100. This scoring approach affords great flexibility in breaking down the Fidelity Financial Wellness Score in ways that provide deep insights into personal financial well-being.

The sum of all four domains yields a total score that can range from 0 to 100, where 0 represents extreme financial distress and 100 indicates the maximum level of financial wellness.

The total score is categorised into one of four discrete levels of financial wellness: 

  • Excellent (80–100)
  • Good (60–79)
  • Fair (40-59)
  • Needs Attention (0–39)

Objective vs subjective financial wellness

Financial wellness is not just about the objective monetary picture, it is also a function of the subjective picture with respect to how people feel about their finances. Understanding the subjective and objective side of financial wellness is key to communicating effectively with employees about their finances.

In the chart below we examine employee support needs based on objective versus subjective financial wellness:

  • High Objective/High Subjective - The ideal state where the respondent’s financial wellness is objectively good, and they also feel good about their position.
  • High Objective/Low Subjective - A ‘reality check’ opportunity where the respondent needs a confidence boost.
  • Low Objective/High Subjective - Also a ‘reality check’ opportunity where the respondent needs a wakeup call.
  • Low Objective/Low Subjective - Respondents in this category need comprehensive support.

Employee support needs based on objective vs subjective financial wellness
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Financial wellness across the globe

Across the six regions surveyed in 2020 – the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Hong Kong, Japan an and Canada -- the median Financial Wellness Scores fell mostly in the ‘Good’ range with China at the top end with a median score of 71 and the United Kingdom at the lower end, returning a median score of 63 which places the region at the lower end of the ‘Good’ category.

It is worth noting, that while the median scores are classified as ‘Good’ across the regions, the range within the ‘Good’ category is reasonably wide (from 60 to 79). So, even those that may score at the top of this range still have significant opportunities for improvement.

Median Financial Wellness Scores by scoring category (%)
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Source: Fidelity Global Financial Wellness Survey, 2020. All Financial Wellness Scores are median scores. The sum of all four domains yields a total score that can range from 0 to 100, where 0 represents extreme financial distress and 100 indicates the maximum level of financial wellness. The total score is categorised into one of four discrete levels of financial wellness: Excellent (80- 100), Good (60-79), Fair (40-59) and Needs Attention (0-39).

*The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), as a part of China, is referred to as Hong Kong (HK) in this report.

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Global

Read the global report (in English)

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United States

Visit the United States Financial Wellness experience (login required)

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United Kingdom

Visit the United Kingdom Financial Wellness experience

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Hong Kong

Visit the Hong Kong Financial Wellness experience

Things to keep in mind

About the Fidelity Global Financial Wellness Survey

The survey population consisted of respondents with the following qualifying conditions: individuals aged 20-75 years old; working full-time or part-time or have spouse working full-time or part-time; expecting to retire someday; the main financial decision maker or equal joint main financial decision maker in the household; a minimum household income of: United Kingdom: £10,000 annually; Germany: €20,000 annually; China: RMB 5,000 monthly; Hong Kong: HK$15,000 monthly; Japan: ¥3,000,000 annually; Canada: CA$30,000 annually.

The research and analysis were completed for the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Canada. Data collection was completed in partnership with Ipsos, a global market and opinion research specialist, who collected and collated data for each region between March 2020 and May 2020.

Important information

The Financial Wellness Score, and its four component domain scores, is calculated based on certain assumptions and are for reference only. This information is intended to be educational and is not tailored to the investment or financial planning needs of any specific investor. This information does not constitute investment advice and should not be used as the basis for any investment decision nor should it be treated as a recommendation for any investment or action.

Fidelity refers to one or both of Fidelity International and Fidelity Investments. Fidelity International and Fidelity Investments are separate companies that operate in different jurisdictions through their subsidiaries and affiliates. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.