Chronic Money Stress is pervasive in the workplace. A recent report on workplace wellness from Financial Finesse, a U.S.-based financial wellness company, proves this point.
The report, which examined trends in workplace financial wellness during the year 2017, also contains reasons for optimism. Namely, the conclusions indicate that financial employee wellness programs make a demonstrable difference in employees’ well-being.
Not only did the percentage of employees who engaged in financial employee wellness programs increase drastically from 2016 to 2017 but engaged employees showed greater confidence in their Financial Fitness.
Wellness and productivity
Workplace financial wellness programs teach employees how to deal with financial stressors, many of which affect productivity in the workplace.
In one 2016 study cited by Financial Finesse, Lockton Retirement Services surveyed more than 600 people to explore the link between financial health and workplace productivity. One in five respondents said they have high stress levels. Those who reported stress identified different sources, from student loans to credit card balances.
The result of all this stress? Declining health and low productivity. Highly stressed employees are twice as likely to use sick time than non-stressed workers. They’re also three times more likely to take prescription drugs for chronic illnesses.
The study found that repeat users of wellness programs reported far lower stress levels than new users. Only 14 percent of repeat users reported high stress, compared to 27 percent for the new user category.
Of course, Financially Fit employees are not only more productive. They’re also more likely to feel confident in their long-term financial goals.
Reaping the benefits of employee wellness programs
Every employee wants to get a better handle on their Cash Flow. Workers must understand what’s coming in and what’s going out in order to know how much they have to spend. Engaging in a employee wellness programs can be the first steps to Financial Fitness.
Financial Finesse chose several employees to survey after their first wellness assessment, and after their most recent one. They found that the number of respondents who had a handle on their Cash Flow over time jumped by 10 percent. The percentage of employees who reported having a Security Buffer also increased by the same amount.
Good Cash Flow and a solid Security Buffer lay the groundwork for Financial Freedom. But a common long-term goal for many workers in the U.S. — who usually don’t realize that Financial Freedom is what they’re actually dreaming of — is retirement.
While we want everyone to shift from a goal of retirement to one of Financial Freedom, the positive in this study is that 43 percent of repeat wellness users reported being on-target for retirement. Compare this with just 31 percent for all users of financial wellness programs.
Despite the reasons for optimism among repeat users, many employees still don’t know where they stand when it comes to a secure retirement. In fact, well over half of all workplace wellness users report that they’re off-track.
What’s bringing employees down?
Workers in every age group face their own set of obstacles that come between them and Financial Freedom. But Financial Finesse reported that the common denominator for workers young and old is debt.
A widespread problem, debt simply manifests itself differently for workers of different ages. For example, most workers under 30 have some form of student loan debt. One in three are struggling to keep up with these payments.
Mid-career employees face Financial Stress that comes from balancing a debt burden with other responsibilities, like caring for children or paying off a house. This 30-54 age group lists getting out of debt as a top priority.
Due in large part to debt concerns, 76 percent of repeat workplace wellness program users still reported at least some level of financial stress. At MindShift.money, we don’t believe this statistic tells us to abandon employee wellness programs. On the contrary, we think it demonstrates the need for a vision of financial wellness that prioritizes true Freedom.
Achieving Freedom in the workplace
The millions of Americans who struggle with debt need more than an average financial wellness plan. They need a program that will encourage them to pay above and beyond the minimum amount due on their credit card bills and student loans.
Employees need to learn the concept of Pay Yourself First — and how this practice can help build a Security Buffer to avoid taking on even more high-interest debt. And last, they need a solid Growth Engine – an investment vehicle that provides steady Cash Flow and blow the traditional 401K out of the water.
What are you waiting for? Let us help you start your employees on the path to Financial Freedom.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of MindShift.money.
image credit: Bigstock/Aekkarak
Sam Bojarski is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in national publications, as well as local newspapers and magazines in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. A dedicated news junkie, he’s always on the lookout for how current events shape the financial aspects of our lives.