December 6, 2017

What is Financial Wellness and Why is it Important?

The 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey found that 3 in 10 workers worry about their personal finances while at work.1 What does this mean for employers, and what can you do about it? Research into financial wellness is beginning to show just how much of a toll financial anxiety can take on workers. Financial wellness is more than just a trendy term; it points to a very real problem, but there are solutions.

A workplace survey report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and Aon Hewitt found that more than half of the workers surveyed reported being under financial stress. The survey further reported that “the financially stressed survey respondents were significantly more likely to become ill, miss work, or be distracted at work because of personal financial matters…”2 Money Magazine reports on research that suggests money worries are costing some employees more than two weeks per year in productivity.3 A Fidelity survey found that 28 percent of employees are distracted at work due to finances, and that a full 51 percent of millennials are less committed to their job because of personal financial difficulties. 4 Financial stress can be a source of major anxiety, and Americans are in a squeeze, with credit card debt, mortgages, college savings, and retirement planning to worry about. And this can manifest in the workplace, causing absenteeism and productivity problems as employees focus on trying to manage their personal finances.

How do employers fit in to this equation, and what can they do about it? It may be time for employers to expand their employee education beyond just providing basic investment and retirement planning education. Employees need an integrated approach that addresses overall financial wellness, helping them manage things like debt, budgeting, and managing financial priorities.

Fortunately, a number of financial providers are starting to recognize the problem and develop financial wellness programs to help. The goal is to help employees reach a position of overall financial health, including a healthy debt-to-income ratio, a workable budget, a financial plan, and a retirement savings plan that is on track. Providing more comprehensive financial literacy and planning education can make a big difference in employees’ financial well-being and thus, their productivity. Among all workers surveyed in the 2017 EBRI Retirement Confidence Survey, a majority say that retirement, financial, and healthcare planning programs would be helpful in increasing productivity.1

Talk to your investment consultant about how to find or build a financial wellness program that can help your employees get back on their feet financially, and restore productivity to help your bottom line.

 

1 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey, Employee Benefits Research Institute; ebri.org

2 “Lack of Employee Financial Wellness Hurts Productivity,” CUES: Potential, Realized, August 2017, https://www.cues.org/article/viewalldd/lack-employee-financial-wellness-hurts-productivity

3  “Money Stress is Totally Killing Your Work Productivity” by Beth Pinkser,” Money Magazine; March 8, 2016; http://time.com/money/4250868/money-stress-work-productivity/

4 Financial Wellness Product Solutions Update & Research on Total Well-Being; Fidelity Investments; November 27, 2017