EL SEGUNDO, CA—Which employees are the most financially stressed? According to a report released today by workplace financial wellness firm Financial Finesse, 55% of women ages 30 to 55, with minor kids and household incomes less than $60,000 a year, report “high” or overwhelming” levels of financial stress. That’s nearly two and a half times the rate of 23% reported by all employees that completed a financial wellness assessment in 2014, and 40% more than similar-aged male parents in the same income group.
According to Financial Finesse’s 2015 Financial Stress Report, financial stress varies dramatically based on employee demographics. In every age group, women were more likely to report significantly higher levels of financial stress than men. Age also contributes, as do income and parenthood.
Who are the least financially stressed employees? “Twenty-six percent of men under 30 report they have no financial stress at all,” says Financial Finesse Think Tank Director and report coauthor Greg Ward, CFP®.
“While it’s no surprise to any working mother that juggling competing financial needs is stressful,” observed Liz Davidson, Financial Finesse CEO and the mother of a five year old, “small steps over time can create financial balance for families at any income level.”
Davidson cited 1) building an emergency fund over time, 2) tracking expenses to find ways to save in order to pay down high-interest debt, and 3) taking full advantage of employer-sponsored benefits at work. A lack of a sense of control is a primary factor for those employees reporting high or overwhelming financial stress, with 84% of those facing overwhelming stress describing their current financial situation as “not under control.”
Employers can help financially stressed employees by providing unbiased workplace financial wellness programs that offer an opportunity to learn practical money skills, said Davidson. “Employers can offer workshops, webcasts, an online financial wellness center, and one-on-one financial coaching to help simplify financial complexities and help busy employees get the most out of their benefits. A workplace-based financial wellness program saves busy parents time, and has been proven to reduce financial stress as well as create a sense of loyalty between employee and employer.”
According to Financial Finesse’s data, about two-thirds of its total users in 2014 were women. “The workplace may be an optimum place to reach women who face significant financial stress,” says report co-author Linda Robertson, CEBS®, CFP®, ChFC®, “since our study has shown that women are the most likely to utilize workplace financial wellness programs.”
She adds, “Given some of the other challenges women are facing, including a general lack of retirement preparedness, employers have a tremendous opportunity to improve the overall financial wellbeing of this segment of their workforce.”
“The most notable improvements we saw in 2014 among financial wellness program users have been in lower income groups,” Ward explained.
In their 2014 Year in Review Research report released earlier this year, Financial Finesse noted that employees with household incomes of less than $35,000 improved in many areas of day-to-day money management, including having an emergency fund, paying off credit card balances in full, and paying bills on time.
“Traditionally, reaching lower income groups has been a challenge for employers, and we see encouraging signs that employers with holistic financial wellness programs are making progress.”
All of Financial Finesse’s reports are based on employee usage of the financial education services provided to them through an employer-sponsored financial wellness program. The full report can be downloaded at: http://goff.im/2015_Fin_Stress_Research_Fin_Finesse .
About Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse is an unbiased financial education company providing personalized and innovative financial education and counseling programs to over 2.4 million employees at over 600 organizations. Financial Finesse partners with organizations to reach goals such as reducing fiduciary liability, increasing plan participation, decreasing stress, and increasing productivity through its unique approach to financial education. Financial Finesse research is conducted by their Think Tank of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals who analyze usage of the company’s financial education services to monitor trends in employee financial issues. Financial Finesse does not sell products nor manage assets. For more information, visit www.financialfinesse.com.