How serious is the problem of financial stress? Seventy-seven percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck,1 41% give themselves a C, D or F in personal finance,2 and 28% don’t pay their bills on time,2 according to citations in a recent white paper from Financial Fitness Group.
The situation has a serious impact today, and perhaps a worse one tomorrow, considering estimates that about 1/3 of working Americans have no retirement savings. The cost to employers of employee financial stress, according to one source cited in the paper, may be $15,000 per employee per year.3
But there is good news: employers are in the best position to make an impact on the numbers. Combining financial literacy education as a regular part of 401(k) plan communication can lead to changes in behavior. In turn, these changes may lead to better financial stability for employees during, and after, their working years.
If you plan to offer employees a program of financial education, be sure the one you choose is engaging and interactive. The information should be easily accessible and flexible, too. Both can be achieved through web-based tools the employee can use whenever and wherever individual circumstances allow.
- 77 Percent of All Americans Live Paycheck to Paycheck at Least Part of the Time, Michael Snyder, August 17, 2012. http://thetruthwins.com/archives/77-percent-of-all-americans-live-paycheck-to-paycheck-at-least-part-of-the-time
- The 2011 Consumer Financial Literacy Survey,” prepared for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and prepared by Harris Interactive Inc., Public Relations Research, March 2011.
- Employee Financial Stress Is Costing Your Company a Bundle — And How You Can Stop It Now!http://isles.org/sites/default/files/Employee%20Financial%20Stress%20is%20Costing%20Your%20Company%20a%20Bundle.pdf
This information is not intended as authoritative guidance or tax or legal advice. You should consult with your attorney or tax advisor for guidance on your specific situation.
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