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Financial engagement, wellness up in 2013

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Employees were more focused on their finances in 2013 than in 2012, a heightened engagement that is reflected in financial wellness and proactive financial planning, according to a new report.

The study, “2013 Research Year in Review,” published by Financial Finesse, indicates that increased access to financial wellness benefits is leading to improved knowledge and confidence for a greater percentage of employees.

The survey observes that 42 percent don’t think they will meet future financial goals, up from 35 percent, while 33 percent feel like their current financial situation is not under control, up from 27 percent.

Additionally, 22 percent of respondents cited not knowing who to trust when investing money as a source of stress, down from 24 percent. And 43 percent cited the stock market and/or U.S. economy as a source of stress, down from 47 percent.

“Unlike previous spikes in financial stress which were heavily correlated with external factors beyond employees’ control, in 2013, the percentage of employees citing external factors as the source of their stress actually dropped, while those citing internal factors notably increased,” the report adds. “We believe this shows a trend towards employees taking greater responsibility for their finances, as opposed to the sense of helplessness we saw during the recession, when employees overwhelmingly cited the economy as the source of their stress.

The survey finds that financial wellness overall increased between 2012 and 2013, with the strongest increases in proactive financial planning:

  • 80 percent review their insurance coverage annually, up from 76 percent;
  • 47 percent have taken a risk tolerance assessment, up from 44 percent;
  • 47 percent are maximizing available federal tax credits and deductions, up from 44 percent;
  • 39 percent are confident in their asset allocation, up from 33 percent;
  • 39 percent have run a retirement projection, up 38 percent;
  • 36 percent rebalance their investment accounts, up from 31 percent; and
  • 20 percent are on track for retirement, up from 17 percent.

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