The Financial Health of Americans

Whether it’s house problems, car trouble, or medical bills, unplanned expenses are relatively common. According to a recent Bankrate report, more than one-third of households had a major unplanned expense in 2017 and half of those expenses costed $2,500 or more. That same report revealed that only 39% of Americans would be able to cover an unplanned $1,000 expense. In addition, the Federal Reserve Board’s Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households found that 44% of those without a college education would not be prepared to cover an unplanned expense of $400. Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate, explained that even though unemployment rates are down and there’s been a recent uptick in wages, savings aren’t increasing.

Financial Health and the Workplace

According to this 2017 survey from CareerBuilder, nearly 80% of American workers say they live paycheck to paycheck and 25% do not put away savings each month. This is why many can’t cover unplanned expenses. Lack of financial security causes stress and anxiety that eventually follow employees to the workplace. According to PwC’s Employee Financial Wellness Surveyhalf of full-time American employees stress about their financial situation during work hours, which leads to decreased productivity and engagement. Not only that, but employees who are struggling financially are twice as likely to have health issues.

Helping Employees Become Financially Fit

The best way to help your employees become financially fit, is to provide them with financial wellness training and tools. This doesn’t mean simply offering 401(k) education. While that is very important to include, aim for a more comprehensive program that can be flexible and includes additional training, such as goal setting and debt management. This will help drive engagement and success. Below are tips for getting your financial well-being program started!

  1. Survey your employees. This is an essential first step that helps you learn more about your employees interests and specific needs related to financial wellness. This will give you a starting point and help you decide what kind of program will be the most beneficial.
  2. Focus on the big financial wellness picture. When you get your survey results back, don’t just focus on the number one financial wellness need. Offer multiple resources to address as many needs on the list as possible. Your employees will grow and change over the years, and the needs they put lower on list may become more important down the line. By offering a broad financial wellness strategy, they will have the resources available when they need them.
  3. Build off your existing wellness program. If you already have a wellness program in place, in you don’t need to make any dramatic changes to it. Instead, build off what is already working and expand your resource base.

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