Employees are more aware of their financial shortcomings, but with that increased awareness comes greater strain on their psyches. That was the major takeaway of a recent survey by Financial Finesse, a provider of fiscal education.
The third-quarter “Trends in Employee Financial Issues” survey revealed that 19 percent of employees report “high or overwhelming” levels of financial stress, up from 13 percent in the same quarter of last year. Similarly, 41 percent expressed uncertainty regarding their ability to achieve future financial goals, a significant jump from 34 percent in the third quarter of last year and 33 percent in Q3 2011.
What has them so worried? The U.S. economy and stock market were cited by 43 percent of employees as the major stumbling blocks to a secure financial future. That’s an increase from 42 percent Q3 2012 and 40 percent in 2011’s third quarter.
Employees in the upper age range – 45 and older – were the most anxious. According to the survey, 84 percent of those 45 or older admitted to some level of financial stress, up from 80 percent a year ago and 74 percent in the third quarter of 2011. Financial Finesse researchers attributed that escalation to the immediate and conflicting pressure those in that age group may be facing, such as paying for college for their children and caring for aging parents while at the same time trying to save for retirement and confronting higher health-care costs.
Awareness and action