Financial wellness means being in a place where you are spending and saving your money thoughtfully, where your behaviors and thinking around your personal finances contribute positively to your short-term and long-term goals. In our money journeys, we’re always working towards more powerful thinking about our finances, which leads to less stress, and ultimately, more wealth. Being in a state of financial wellness also means that a big, unexpected expense (like a hospital bill or other emergency) wouldn’t completely derail us. If we’re financially well, we’re more equipped to handle unanticipated events and their costs.
It makes sense that financial wellness would make a big impact on our performance at work. According to the newly released PwC 2017 Employee Wellness Financial Survey, the majority of Americans are stressed about their finances. This stress — or financial unwellness — costs companies, just like it costs us as individuals.
According to the 1,600 full-time employees surveyed in PwC’s 2017 study, 53 percent of workers report being stressed about their finances, while 65 percent of Millennials said the same. Across all generations — Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers — financial matters were the top cause of stress. Forty-six percent of workers spend three hours or more during the work week thinking about or dealing with financial issues, and 47 percent said their finance-related stress has increased over the last 12 months. And according to a new survey from Bankrate, which interviewed 1,003 adults earlier this year, 57 percent of Americans don’t have enough cash to cover a $500 expense.
According to the Federal Reserve’s Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2016, 44 percent of adults say they could either not cover an emergency expense costing $400, or they would cover it by selling something or borrowing money. And on top of all that, employees are increasingly paying for rising health care costs, while many of them may have previously relied on their employment benefits to foot most of the bill.
Chances are, you’ve experienced financial stress at some point — we all have. As money is a taboo topic, even among close friends and longtime colleagues, you might not have realized how pervasive money-related stress is. But the reality is that many Americans are facing financial unwellness, and it’s costing their employers.