Workers Cite Internal Factors as Cause of Financial Stress

Financial stress among employees increased significantly in 2013 as more people cited internal factors as the cause of their stress, according to a recent survey. The good news: people recognize that the factors causing their stress are within their control which means they can put a plan in place to better manage financial stress.
The latest report by Financial Finesse, provider of workplace financial wellness programs, found that 42 percent of employees were concerned about not being able to meet their future financial goals, an increase from 35 percent the previous year. Demographics such as gender, age, income and the presence of minor children were all contributing factors as well. Women, younger employees, those with children and those with lower incomes were all more likely to report high or overwhelming levels of stress than their counterparts.
Financial Finesses also reported 43 percent of employees cited the U.S. economy and stock market as the reason for their financial stress, compared to 43 percent the previous year. The study also found that employees who reported lower levels of financial stress were more likely to be concerned about the economy.
Those who reported having overwhelming stress are at least 16 times more likely to have debt and money management problems and 50 percent more likely to be unprepared for retirement. However, with the right financial plan, these are things they can gain control of over time.
“Now that the economy has stabilized for the most part, employees are taking the opportunity to assess their situations in more detail,” said Liz Davidson, CEO. “They’ve stepped on the financial scale, so to speak, and are going ‘Wow, this is worse than I thought!’ This is a good thing even if it is causing them to feel more stress over their circumstances because they seem to recognize that they can no longer point to the stock market or the economy as the reason for their discomfort; they’re taking action to address their vulnerabilities through factors they themselves can control.”
Employees that want to improve their financial situation, and subsequently, help alleviate some of their financial stress can participate in a financial wellness program to become better educated in financial planning. Being aware of the tools and resources available to them is just the first step in improving confidence in their financial decisions. Employees can also take financial wellness assessments and meet with a financial advisor.
Several companies offer budget and spending tracking tools to help individuals get a better picture of where their money is going and help eliminate unnecessary spending. They should also create a plan to reroute money from their discretionary spending to eliminate debt. Employees should also take advantage of their employers’ retirement savings plan, particularly if they offer 401k contribution matches.
Having a plan in place can provide a sense of control to those who felt they were not in control of their financial situation.