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Five Signs Indicate Financial Stress in Employees

Financially stressed woman

Purchasing Power offers tools employers can provide to start building financial wellness for employees

 With April designated as Financial Literacy Month, Purchasing Power is addressing the dual role of employers in identifying signs of employees’ financial stress that can negatively impact the workplace and providing financial education to change behavior.

Purchasing Power’s recently released infographic, “Five Signs of Employee Financial Stress,” lists five factors that indicate an employee might be experiencing financial stress. This stress is a concern to employers because it impacts productivity, healthcare costs and retention.

The five signs of employee financial stress are:

  • Withdrawing loans against retirement savings;
  • Sking for payday advances;
  • Unexpected absences;
  • Preventable medical issues (ones that could have been avoided through preventive care but the employee didn’t go to the doctor or other care because of cost); and
  • Spending time dealing with personal finances while at work.

“In some cases, employees with financial issues don’t have healthy financial habits, so they don’t know how to resolve their situation,” Elizabeth Halkos, Chief Revenue Officer, said. “Employers should not only look for these signs of employee financial stress, but also provide financial wellness education to help workers change the course of their financial behavior and see a positive impact in the workplace,” she added.

According to a July 2014 Harris Poll on behalf of Purchasing Power, 80 percent of employees working full-time said they have financial stress today. “Employees’ financial situations might be personal, but they bring those concerns to work with them, and ultimately, financial stress becomes a distraction while at work,” Halkos explained. The Harris Poll showed that 33 percent of employees spend an average of 1.7 hours per week dealing with personal finances at work.

“Employers should proactively address their employees’ current financial stability as it helps both the employees and the company’s bottom line,” Halkos said.

A Purchasing Power white paper released in February, “Money Smarts: Helping Employees Make the Grade” studies the effect financially-stressed employees have on their company and the need for a financial wellness education program. It examines the employer’s role and outlines the elements of a successful financial wellness education initiative. According to the white paper, 40 percent of employees say that they would take advantage of financial wellness education opportunities made available through their or their spouse’s employer.

The white paper notes that some industry experts predict that financial wellness is the next big trend in 2015. Worksite wellness is expanding beyond the traditional focus on physical health to include a financial wellness component, helping employees ease economic stress, overcome money challenges and promote financial health.