According to data provided by research from John Hancock, employee financial stress has nearly doubled since COVID-19 began. Before the pandemic, the number of individuals who reported feeling moderate or extreme financial stress was 39%, but during the pandemic, that number has risen to 62%. The reasons for the increased stress are attributed to several financial concerns. 50% of individuals surveyed worried about the current economy a great deal. 49% of respondents worried a great deal about not having enough in retirement savings, and 23% worried a great deal about not having work. Stress has a strong negative impact on mental health and total well-being, but it also impacts productivity and absenteeism. When employees are stressed over their finances, it’s hard to focus on their work. The research found that 43% of workers spend at least some time on their finances while at work. If employees aren’t missing work due to financial stress, they bring that worry with them. It doesn’t have to be that way.

“Among those who worry about finances at work, close to half say their productivity would increase if they didn’t spend time at work worrying about personal finances.”

Financial Education

Schools didn’t teach finances, money management techniques, financial literacy, and general financial education. Furthermore, Americans don’t feel comfortable talking about money, even with their significant other. According to market research, 34 percent of cohabiting couples (married or not) could not identify how much their significant other makes. Additionally, respondents reported being more comfortable talking with friends about politics, romantic relations, religion, and medical conditions before financial topics. We asked MoneyWellth participants why they felt uncomfortable discussing money with friends, and one respondent said,

“Growing up, I was always told it was impolite to discuss money. It’s just always been an off-limits topic. I never even thought about doing it because I never wanted to make any of my friends uncomfortable.” – Female baby boomer, Nebraska

With employees feeling unable to talk to friends, and sometimes even their significant other, about finances and the lack of financial education in school, it leaves employees having to fend for themselves when navigating their personal and household finances. This stress becomes even worse during times like the pandemic.

Financial Wellness Program Can Help

Financial wellness programs can help employees navigate how to manage their personal finances. Managing money isn’t something that employees do once, and they are done. It is something that they are doing every day and as life changes and circumstances change, so do their finances. Having a financial wellness program that supports employees by teaching core financial habits and strategies and navigating through life’s events is crucial to helping employees get back to focusing on the things that matter most to them. Surveyed employees also agreed that a financial wellness program is important. Supporting employees with a holistic financial wellness program that uses lasting behavior change techniques can leave a long and lasting impact on employee’s lives. The pandemic has left a lasting impact on all of us. Stress levels are high, and employees are feeling burnt-out. Supporting employees with financial resources can make a significant impact. If you are an employer looking to provide free resources to your employees, you can sign-up for our weekly mailing list to receive digital support materials for employees. Together we can help reduce the burden of financial stress!

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