About 48% of those surveyed consider this achievement a sure sign of success.

How do you define success? When Northwestern Mutual conducted its 2019 Planning & Progress Study, it asked people to pick five attributes that they feel are signs of success. The top two answers came as no surprise: spending quality time with family and being healthy.

What you may find a bit surprising is that more people did not include “earning a high income” in their top five. In fact, only 13% of those surveyed considered raking in the big bucks as a sign of success. In contrast, nearly half of respondents (48%) considered being financially prepared for the future as a sure sign of success.

And these people have the right idea.

Why does being financially prepared matter?

Of all the attributes associated with success, it makes sense that so many Americans would value financial preparedness. People want to be ready for anything that comes up, and they don’t want to be worried about money all the time. Being financially prepared means having savings, a budget, and an emergency fund so you know you can handle anything that comes along.

Another survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers asked workers to describe what financial wellness means to them, and 34% said that it means not being stressed about their finances. That fits with responses from 62% of millennials and 55% of Gen Xers, who said they worry about not having enough money put aside for unexpected expenses. Of the baby boomers surveyed, 52% were concerned about being unable to retire when they want to.

Research by The Ascent on time spent on personal finances found that Americans have some work to do before they can feel in control. Only 21% of respondents say they are confident they could miss more than three paychecks without having to borrow money or skip paying a bill, and on average, Americans spend less than two minutes a day managing their household finances.

There’s no reason to wait until you’re making more money or in less debt to take control of your finances. Today is the day to begin preparing for your financial future.

Read the rest of the article at Motley Fool