Financial stress is the number one issue faced by employees, and that applies across all demographics. While younger generations are struggling to pay off student loan debt, older generations are preparing for retirement. And the generations in-between are supporting their growing children and aging parents simultaneously.
Now that COVID-19 has added to existing pressure, financial stress is worse than ever: some two-income households are down to one, new graduates are struggling to find jobs, and very few families are prepared to handle unexpected bills and expenses.
Financial Stress is Damaging Mental Health
Financially stressed employees are less productive in the workplace. Employees are humans first and foremost, so they can’t just leave their worries at home. Especially now that home now doubles at the workplace in most cases. 35% of employees report that finances have been a distraction at work, and nearly half of those employees admit to spending three hours or more each week thinking about their finances or managing issues related to their finances.
The strain of financial worries can also lead to a variety of mental and physical health issues, including migraines, cardiovascular disease, insomnia, depression, and anxiety. We were already facing a mental health crisis, and it’s only been intensified by the pandemic. Nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus is harming their mental health, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll. If financial stress isn’t addressed quickly, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse will snowball.
Employers Need to Step Up
Employees need support as they navigate their rising financial needs and concerns in the coming months ahead. Access to objective financial guidance and education will help employees take a step back, breathe, and make the necessary decisions to take care of themselves and their families.
Even before the pandemic hit, the majority of employees sought financial guidance at key decision points or when facing a financial crisis. Providing a financial advice and education service now is not only a socially conscious response, but a critical and timely solution.
How to Find the Right Service
There are a lot of financial tools available. However, most are expensive and singularly focused. The ideal financial wellness service includes:
- Multiple access points. If financial stress impacts all demographics, the service needs to be accessible for everyone, whether they want to talk on the phone with a financial advisor, or find the information they need at the click of a button.
- Advice + education. Diverse populations have varying financial needs. An effective service needs to provide financial advice for employees who have specific questions and are seeking guidance, as well as educational resources for those who just want to learn more and weigh their options.
- 24/7 availability. With financial advisors and resources available at all times, employees can get the help they need after work or on the weekends without trying to squeeze a meeting into their work day. And with virtual access, help is available from the safety and convenience of home.
All of these features and more are available through our Financial Wellness benefit, powered by askAFS. Learn more about this cost-effective, financial stress-reducing service by downloading this flyer.
If you’d like to provide Financial Wellness to your clients now, contact our benefits pros at NewSales@NewBenefits.com.