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Survey: Knowledge Worker Financial Concerns Reach New High Survey: Knowledge Worker Financial Concerns Reach New High

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Why Your Company Needs Financial Wellness - Now

Neha Mirchandani

The financial anxiety from COVID-19 has created even greater urgency for employers to offer a comprehensive financial wellness solution to their employees.

That’s the clear takeaway from PwC’s 9th annual financial wellness survey, which focused on the impact of COVID-19. Among the findings in this widely followed gauge of employee financial well-being:

  • Financial matters are still the most stressful for employees by a wide margin. Fifty-four percent said financial or money matters are their top concern. Job stress is second (18%), relationships (12%), health concerns (11%) and all other concerns (5%). This is consistent with PwC’s previous surveys, which found that financial matters are the No. 1 cause of stress in the workplace.

  • Employees are looking for financial guidance. Forty-two percent said they seek advice for important financial matters, such as buying a house or making savings and investment decisions. Twenty-five percent said they seek help during a financial crisis, such as the loss of a job or income, debt issues, unexpected expenses or lack of cash flow.

  • Employees were financially unprepared for the COVID-19 crisis. One-third of full-time employed Millennials, GenXers and Baby Boomers have less than $1,000 saved for unexpected expenses. Women are more at risk. Only half as many women as men have money to pay for basic expenses if they are out of work.

  • Debt management during the pandemic has become a bigger challenge. Forty percent of Millennials have student loan debt. Nearly three in four say debt payments are impacting their ability to meet their financial goals. Alarmingly, more than one-third of GenZ, Millennials, GenXers and Baby Boomers with student loans said those payments are having a “significant impact” on them.

  • Financial pressure may force some to unexpectedly use retirement savings. More than half the Millennials and GenX employees surveyed said they will likely use savings in their employer retirement plans for unexpected expenses or medical bills. And, more than half of Baby Boomers now say they will continue working out of necessity or desire in retirement.

The report also called on employers to take an active role in the financial well-being of their employees. “In 2020, employers need to recognize the economic realities of COVID-19 and understand the important role they can play, directly or indirectly, in helping reduce financial difficulties and stress their employees will likely encounter.”

Comprehensive Employee Financial Wellness

Employees face a wide range of challenges at every stage of life. We believe financial wellness must be a comprehensive solution -- more than education or calculators -- to have a meaningful impact on the financial well-being of employees.

Comprehensive financial wellness for employees needs to address every aspect of personal finance – financial planning, budgeting, savings, debt management, investing, retirement, insurance, and estate planning. It needs to be delivered through a combination of cutting-edge technology and team of seasoned financial advisors who have experienced all kinds of market conditions. Above all, it must be holistic and trusted by employees.

To build the proper level of trust, the financial guidance offered by a financial wellness solution should be delivered by fiduciaries, which have a legal and moral obligation to provide advice that is always in the best interest of employees.

At BrightPlan, our mission is to do just that: Enable employers to offer a financial wellness solution for employees that serves their needs at every stage of life. We were founded on the belief that financial wellness is a universal need, like education and health care, and is attainable for everyone.

Forward-thinking companies recognize that financial wellness is key to employee well-being and business success, especially during times of crisis. Financial wellness increases productivity, employee engagement and loyalty, and it creates an advantage in hiring and retaining talented people. As the focal point of financial wellness shifts to the workplace, employers have an opportunity to demonstrate their leadership and genuine care for employees.