Employees are more likely to rate themselves as physically healthy than financially healthy. And while 57 percent of employees rate themselves physically healthy, 28 percent rate themselves financially healthy.

Principal Financial discloses this finding in its first 2014 Financial Well Being Index. Conducted by Harris Interactive, the research is based on an online poll of 1,123 employees ages 18 and older who work at small and mid-sized (SBM) U.S. businesses (firm size: 10 – 1,000 employees).

The survey reports that 84 percent of employees believe that being physically healthy is an investment in their financial future, and 77 percent believe that by spending money on their physical health now, they will avoid major expenditures later in life.

Additionally, 46 percent of employees feel stressed about their current financial situation while 35 percent of baby boomers say they feel stressed about their current financial situation compared to 51 percent of Gen Yers.

Employees who work with a financial professional (33 percent) are less likely to feel stressed about their current financial situation than those who do not work with a financial professional (51 percent), the report adds.

Among the report’s additional findings:

  • 52 percent of employees say they have monitored their spending levels in the past year and 39 percent employees created a budget — up significantly from 28 percent two years ago;
  • 57 percent have an emergency fund to tap in the event of a job loss or unanticipated major expense, but paying for unexpected expenses would still be difficult for many employees;
  • Employees who work with a financial professional (78 percent) are more likely to have an emergency fund than employees who do not work with a financial professional (49 percent). Nearly one in five employees (17 percent) have tapped into their emergency fund recently to cover monthly expenses;
  • The top plan employees have for their 2013 tax return is to save or invest the refund. About two-thirds of employees (68 percent) are expecting a federal or state tax refund for 2013; and
  • About half of employees (51 percent) expecting a refund plan to save or invest it, 38 percent intend to pay down/off short-term debt and 24 percent hope to pay down/off longer-term debt.

The following is an infographic showcasing additional findings from the Principal Financial Well Being Index: