Financial stress has a significant effect on the lives of Americans. In the U.S. today, over 50 percent of people have less than $1,000 in savings. As a result, millions of employees at companies across the country are experiencing money-related stress:
- 62 percent of American adults cite finances as a significant source of stress.
- 39 percent carry credit card debt from month to month.
- 32 percent have a budget.
- 30 percent have a long-term financial plan.
That’s why I’m excited that iGrad’s Enrich,TM a financial planning platform, will now seamlessly integrate with WebMD Health Services. This new offering goes beyond investment and benefits planning to provide the foundational information and insights needed to help consumers gain financial literacy expertise—and sustain it over time.
Enrich is proven to help better manage the effects of financial stress, which can be far-reaching. People who are financially stressed may take more days off work for health-related issues—and in some cases—they aren’t visiting doctors and putting their health care needs on hold because of financial concerns.
Financial stress can help create plenty of health issues of its own, too. In high amounts, it may lead to anxiety, insomnia, depression and other harmful conditions. What’s more, those who have particularly high financial stress are also more likely to use unhealthy behaviors to manage their stress.
Say an employee is struggling to make their student loan payments. If they are consistently making their payments late, they may start to lose sleep, eat poorly, skip workouts or cope with their financial stress in another unhealthy way. This can have a negative long-term effect on the well-being of the individual—while leaving you with an unhealthy, unfocused and unproductive worker.
Not to mention, financial stress can be a major distraction at work. According to recent studies, approximately one-third of employees report being occupied by personal finance issues while at work—with almost half of them spending three hours or more handling these matters during the workday each week.
Obstacles to overcoming financial stress.
There will always be challenges to overcoming financial stress. For some, their financial burdens are so overwhelming they never make the first move and seek the financial education they need to move forward.
For example, the millennial generation is facing unprecedented financial challenges. They could be drowning in student debt, car payments, rent bills and everyday living costs—with no relief in sight. Out of resignation, uncertainty or fear, they may delay seeking any kind of financial help.
But feeling overwhelmed isn’t the only thing hindering people from getting the financial help they need. Some other common factors include:
- The negative stigma – Money is a sensitive topic. Even if it’s with a professional, people can be hesitant to talk about personal issues like spending habits, retirement savings or credit card debt.
- The intimidation factor – If your employees are stressed out about money and don’t have a budget or a plan, it can be extremely intimidating for them to sit down with a Certified Financial Planner.
But for most employees, the biggest struggle is simply knowing where to begin. Without any financial planning assistance, many employees get lost trying to navigate their way toward financial well-being—and the world of finances can certainly be confusing.
How organizations are helping.
The way companies view well-being is evolving. Across the country, organizations are coming to the realization that health isn’t just about diet and exercise. They are learning that for employees to truly achieve well-being, they also need to be financially fit.
To help their employees achieve holistic well-being, companies are expanding their well-being programs beyond the traditional model. Today, 84% of mid- to large-sized companies offer financial well-being programs that are teaching their employees the importance of regular savings—which is making a difference in their lives.
Moving forward, this trend will only continue. Organizations have woken up to the fact that it’s no longer enough to only offer retirement planning assistance.
A financial well-being program WebMD trusts.
Education is an important part of financial health. To help your employees learn how to better manage their financial stress, consider incorporating a financial stress management tool into your well-being program. At WebMD Health Services, we partner with EnrichTM from iGrad, an education-based financial stress management program.
Enrich helps employees become financially literate, no matter what stage of life they’re in. Whether your employees are paying off student loans, planning for a child’s college education or saving for retirement—Enrich has resources that can teach them how to reach their savings goals, while providing the foundational information needed to help employees achieve financial well-being and independence.
Creating a financially secure future.
Financial stress is affecting the health and productivity of millions of Americans. While there will always be challenges when trying to overcome financial stress, organizations today are tackling the problem head-on by implementing financial well-being programs like Enrich—which is helping employees across the country to be more educated, empowered and in charge of their financial health.
Interested in learning more?
To learn more about the importance of financial wellness, join me and Kris Alba, Executive Vice President of iGrad’s Enrich financial wellness platform, as we uncover the truth about financial wellness.
Enrich Your Well-Being Program: The Importance of Financial Wellness.
August 21, 2018 | 10:00 a.m. PST / 1:00 p.m. ET.