Americans are worried about their finances and for good reason. According to the Consumer Financial Health Study, the majority of Americans are struggling with an unhealthy amount of debt, irregular income, and sporadic savings habits. More than a third of households in the study reported that they frequently or occasionally run out of money before the end of the month and 43 percent struggle to keep up with their bills and payment.
“We see that a lot, unfortunately,” shares Bianca Buie, financial team lead at Workplace Options. Workplace Options, the world’s largest independent provider of employee wellbeing support solutions, provides financial wellbeing support to employees, often through their employers as part of their benefits package. Bianca and her team, which includes certified financial counselors, receive calls from employees requesting help navigating a variety of financial matters including budgeting, debt, and retirement planning.
“Many of the calls we receive are from people struggling with some sort of debt; most often credit card debt or medical bills,” explains Bianca. “Once we have a clear understanding of their debt, we help them put together an achievable game plan for paying it off. If they do not already have a budget, we provide resources and support to get a budget put in place as well.”
A 2018 poll commissioned by Workplace Options showed that 83 percent of the employees polled reported some amount of financial stress, with almost half (48 percent) saying they face a significant or moderate amount of financial stress. And 32 percent of those polled felt like financial stress was impacting their ability to do their jobs.
The top financial concern of Millennials and Gen X, according to a survey by PwC, is a lack of emergency savings. For Baby Boomers, the top concern is not being able to retire when they want. Other areas of concern included not being able to pay bills, not keeping up with debt and being laid off from work.
Americans are not the only ones struggling over financial worries. The Financial Wellbeing Index, which is used to measure the financial wellbeing of UK workers, found that 77 percent of UK employees reported money worries impact them at work.
More and more employers in both the UK and US are stepping up to help employees sidetracked with financial struggles by providing financial literacy programs as a workforce benefit. Approximately 45 percent of employers in the UK have a workplace financial wellbeing strategy in place, according to the Financial Wellbeing Index. In the US, the 2018 Employee Benefits Survey released by the Society for Human Resources Management shows 48 percent of companies now offer financial advice for their employees either online, one-on-one, and/or in a group or classroom setting.
When Workplace Options polled employees to find which type of financial education, support or resources would be the most useful, 36 percent of respondents selected saving for retirement, followed by managing debt and tax issues, both at 18 percent.
Employer sponsored financial literacy programs have been linked to increases in employee productivity, morale, engagement and loyalty.
Workplace Options helps employees balance their work, family and personal needs to become healthier, happier and more productive, both personally and professionally. The company’s world-class employee support, effectiveness and wellbeing services provide information, resources, referrals and consultation on a variety of issues ranging from dependent care and stress management to clinical services and wellness programs. To learn more visit www.workplaceoptions.com.