By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff
The majority of employees believe that participating in financial wellness programs would be helpful, according to recent research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute and Greenwald & Associates. Most employees thought that help calculating how much to save for retirement (75 percent), help calculating how much to anticipate spending in retirement (72 percent), and planning for health care expenses in retirement (72 percent) would be either very or somewhat helpful.
Other financial well-being programs scored lower when it came to perceived helpfulness, EBRI found. Fewer than half of workers thought debt counseling or budgeting help would be helpful. Notably, 39 percent workers thought student loan debt assistance programs would be helpful in preparing for retirement. However, younger workers were much more likely to perceive these programs as being helpful than older workers.
The survey also found the following:
- Stress about retirement: A significant percentage of workers were stressed about planning for retirement in both 2017 and 2018. In particular, workers with lower incomes or in poor health were more likely to feel stressed about preparing for retirement.
- Worrying about finances at work: Thirty percent of workers overall reported worrying about finances at work. Furthermore, of those worrying about finances, 70 percent worried at least somewhat often. Many important factors were correlated with this worrying. For example, nearly three quarters (71 percent) of those who said debt was a major problem worried about finances at work, compared with just 9 percent of those who said debt was not a problem.
- Impact on worker productivity: A majority of workers thought retirement planning and financial planning programs would increase their productivity at work. The other programs that had higher likelihoods for increased workplace productivity include financial planning (48 percent) and health care planning (47 percent) programs. Interestingly, debt counseling (29 percent) was thought to be the least likely to be helpful for productivity.
- Improvement of mental health: Patterns were similar to those on the impact on worker productivity when it came to the perceived impact of financial well-being programs on workers’ mental health. Just over half (51 percent) of workers said that financial planning and retirement planning programs would be somewhat or very helpful in improving their mental health. Corresponding to the results on worker productivity and debt levels, workers for whom debt was a major problem were more likely to report that the same programs would also be helpful in improving their mental health.
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