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Employees Increasingly Stressed About Finances

More employees than ever—nearly nine out of 10—are feeling stressed about their finances, with almost half saying they’re just getting by. Despite budgets for salary increases reaching a 22-year high in 2023, 48% of workers are worried they don’t have enough money saved for an emergency and 45% are stressed about not having enough saved for retirement. Fortunately, employers and their HR leaders are in a strong position to help improve financial well-being through innovative benefits that can significantly reduce employees’ financial stress—and the resulting impacts on their mental health—while also adding business value.  

That’s according to new research published by SoFi at Work, a leading provider of financial well-being and education benefits to more than 1,000 organizations. The report, The Future of Workplace Financial Well-being: 2024 Employer & Employee Perspectives, is SoFi at Work’s second annual report outlining employees’ financial goals and what employers can do to support them on the path to financial well-being.  

Impact on Employee Health and Performance 

Dealing with financial stress like inflation and the rising cost of goods has a direct impact on employees’ overall well-being.  

  • Nearly half (47%) say it negatively impacts their mental health, an 11% increase from SoFi at Work’s previous report.  
  • Approximately 37% say it hinders their motivation.  
  • Nearly 40% say it impacts their physical health and nearly 30% have delayed medical care because of the cost.  

Companies that offer financial well-being benefits can substantially reduce the impact of financial stress for employees by as much as 10-13%, and three out of four employees say these benefits make them more likely to stay with their employer.  

Support Employees Paying off Debt 

The SECURE 2.0 Act gives employers the opportunity to help employees navigate immediate financial goals and long-term security through student loan payment 401(k) matching and pre-tax emergency savings accounts that roll over to a retirement plan. 

Approximately 40% of HR leaders plan to start offering these benefits in 2024, which will be a major differentiator in attracting and retaining critical talent as nine out of 10 employees want programs that help them reach their financial goals while paying off student debt and would be more likely to stay with their employer long-term if they matched student loan payments with retirement contributions.  

Employees Struggling with Liquidity 

Emergency savings funds are now a top priority for 47% of employees, a notable 20% increase from 2022, and 40% want to make progress paying off credit card debt. With one in five employees having borrowed or withdrawn from retirement savings last year, retirement matching is now among the most enticing employee benefits.  

Closing Communication Gaps is Essential 

Nearly three-quarters (70%) of HR leaders say their company offers financial well-being benefits but only 48% of employees say they do, pointing to a need for more employee knowledge about programs already available. One reason could be communication infrequency: 76% of HR leaders claim to communicate about benefits at least quarterly or monthly, but only two-thirds of employees say they’ve received information about benefits in the last six months.  

SoFi at Work’s report was conducted by CITE Research, which polled 1,500 HR leaders and employees ages 18-70 between Sept. 28 and Oct. 13, 2023.  

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