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Financial Stress is a Symptom of Employee Financial (Un)Wellness: Part 2

According to a 2018 report, Mercer found that $250 billion is being lost annually by American businesses due to employees’ financial stress. Employees spend between 12 and 15 work hours each month thinking about or working on their money issues — time they’re not spending doing the work employers pay them to do. (Learn more about employee financial wellness in Part 1 of this series.)

Globally, workers aren’t doing much better. According to Willis Towers Watson 2017/2018 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey, financial satisfaction has taken a turn for the worse, with 27% reporting severe stress, anxiety or depression related to money within the last two years. In many countries, employees are increasingly concerned about their finances, both immediate and long term, and the financial insecurity is affecting their mental health and stress levels.

Q: Describe to employers the benefits of investing in financial wellness programs.

Whether it’s their first year on the job or they’re approaching retirement, at one point or another most every employee will be stressed about money. Financial wellness platforms have the ability to address problems unique to employees of all ages and all levels of financial literacy.

Best Money Moves asks users to rate their stress in 15 categories and then provides expert resources that specifically address the stresses most relevant to their unique situation. We can add in deep analytics to help companies uncover exactly which financial stressors are pain points for their employees, and then reveal how their spending choices are being made.

Q: How do financial wellness programs help employees?

No one wants to be financially insecure, but if an employee is struggling with debt or living paycheck to paycheck, it’s difficult to feel like money is something they can control. Financial wellness platforms provide the direct, personalized guidance that employees need to identify weak points and improve unhealthy money habits.

Q: Why is the start of the year a good time to begin investing in financial wellness?

Over-spending over the holidays? Happens every year. That’s why the start of the year is a great time to begin focusing on your finances and why many employers, having just come through open enrollment, focus on investing in financial wellness in the first quarter. Employees are already looking for a clean financial slate and may have resolved to tighten their budget or pay down their debt in the new year. Employers can provide those solutions as they recover financially from the holiday season.

Q: What role do financial wellness programs play in aiding HR to complete the digital transformation in their organization?

Money and stress can be abstract concepts, difficult for employers to pin down and address within their workforce. Financial wellness platforms help employers visualize the scope of the problem by putting that information at their fingertips with mobile and desktop-friendly applications. Utilizing technology will allow employees to feel more comfortable engaging the tool and allows instant accessibility to resources and recommendations.

Q: How can HR measure the success of financial wellness initiatives?

Employees who aren’t stressed about their finances will be more focused and productive than employees who constantly worry about money. But a good financial wellness platform should provide HR teams with measurable statistics to track employee financial health.

Best Money Moves offers several assessment tools, like our Stressometer®, which rates employee financial stress in 15 categories. We also measure employee savings, employee debt, employee credit score information and can even tell employers the specific financial topics that are worrying employees the most. Then, we provide anonymous statistical data to the employer, broken down in a way that helps provide a path forward.

We believe that the best financial wellness company provides data that is statistical only so that employees can feel confident that their employer won’t know their private financial situation, while employers still get the most accurate and honest results possible.

Q: Where can our readers keep up with your work at Best Money Moves?

Keep up with our team on Twitter at @bestmoneymoves, on Facebook at @bestmoneymoves, and on LinkedIn at Best Money Moves. And don’t forget to check out for weekly updates about what’s happening in the financial wellness industry.

Q: What do business leaders need to know moving forward?

55% of Americans don’t expect their financial situation to improve in 2019, according to Bankrate’s recent Financial Outlook Survey, and 49% of people pointed the blame at the current political climate. In the face of rising interest rates, a fluctuating stock market and the uncertain future of the healthcare system, financial stress is not a temporary problem for employers. Financial wellness platforms don’t just reduce employee financial stress in the present, they provide employees with invaluable financial education and skills to address financial problems in the future.