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Is there a link between physical and financial health? Survey says, "yes"

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American workers are feeling optimistic about their physical and financial health, and they see the two as connected, new research shows.

So reports Principal Financial Group in its latest Principal Financial Well-Being Index. The online survey of American workers, conducted by Harris Poll, gathered responses from 1,110 U.S. employees in February. The report is one in a series of quarterly studies to identify and track changes in the workplace of small and mid-sized (growing) businesses.

According to the report, only 4 percent of workers rate themselves as physically unhealthy. And over half of workers (52 percent) believe they are making good progress toward their long-term financial goals.

Eighty-seven percent of workers agree that being physically healthy is an investment in their financial future. Another 77 percent believe that spending time and money on their physical health now will help to avoid major health costs later in life.

“It’s one thing to recognize the critical role of health and financial stability in determining our future well-being, but it is another thing entirely to take the necessary actions to achieve those goals,” says Jerry Ripperger, vice president of consulting, The Principal. As the future becomes more uncertain than ever before, it’s crucial that younger generations take control of their finances and health as early as possible.”

Highlights of the survey include:

  • Employees who work with an advisor (52 percent) are more likely to say they are happy with their current financial situation than employees who go it alone (31 percent).

  • Employees who do not use a financial professional (39 percent) are more likely to say paying down debt is a top priority compared to those who use a financial professional (20 percent).

  • Men (55 percent) are significantly more interested in using a worksite financial professional compared to women (39 percent). They are also 27 percent (55 percent vs. 42 percent) more likely to rate themselves as financially healthy.

  • About half (52 percent) of employees say they have monitored their spending levels in the past years as a way to give themselves a financial checkup. Only 3 in 10 say they have created a budget.

  • Over half of employees (58 percent) say they usually feel in control of their personal financial situation. However, employees who use a financial professional are more likely to feel in control of their personal financial situation (71 percent) than employees who do not (54 percent).

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