Financial Education, Literacy, or Wellness – Oh My!

In credit unions, Financial Education, Financial Literacy, and Financial Wellness are seemingly interchangeable, but each has a distinct meaning and purpose. What does your credit union want to become in the eyes of your members and the community? Which of these options will differentiate you from other financial providers?

Financial Education: Financial education provides consumers with knowledge and information about various financial topics and concepts. It aims to enhance their understanding of financial matters, such as budgeting, saving, investing, credit management, insurance, and retirement planning. Financial education is typically delivered through workshops, seminars, online courses, interactive tools, or other educational resources. The primary focus is on imparting knowledge and building financial skills.

Financial Literacy: Financial literacy is the outcome or result of financial education. It represents an individual’s ability to apply the knowledge and skills gained from financial education to make informed and effective financial decisions. A financially literate person can manage their finances, understand financial products and services, interpret financial information, and navigate economic challenges confidently. Financial literacy is about practical application and is the foundation for achieving financial well-being.

Financial Wellness: Financial wellness goes beyond financial literacy and refers to overall financial health and well-being. It encompasses financial management’s emotional, psychological, and behavioral aspects in addition to knowledge and skills. Financial wellness involves managing finances that align with personal values, reduce financial stress, and allow individuals to achieve their goals and aspirations. It is a holistic approach considering the interplay between financial knowledge, behaviors, and overall well-being.

Financial education focuses on providing knowledge and information about financial concepts, financial literacy refers to an individual’s ability to apply that knowledge effectively, and financial wellness encompasses the broader aspects of financial health and emotional well-being resulting from informed financial decisions and behaviors. A well-rounded financial wellness program should aim to improve financial education and literacy while addressing money management’s emotional and behavioral aspects.


Rich Jones is the Founder/Principal of Leading2Leadership LLC. Before starting his strategic planning agency, he spent over 20 years in leadership roles in the financial services sector. Before becoming an executive in the financial services sector, Rich was an entrepreneur, building and selling two businesses and working for early-stage start-up companies in executive roles in marketing, business development, and seeking investment partners. With more than three decades of experience, he brings innovative thought to companies and executives. Rich published “Leading2Leadership, a Situational Primer to Leadership Excellence.” The book is available on and was designed to be used as a book study for leadership development programs; it breaks leadership skills into manageable situations for discussion and reflection. Rich works with credit unions, CUSOs, and vendors, designing digital, data, culture, marketing, and branding transformation strategies. In 2014, Chosen as a Credit Union Rock Star by CU Magazine, and in 2018, Rich received the Lifetime Achievement Award from CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council. A Marine and graduate of Colorado State University, Jones shares his expertise at

Leave a Comment