If you're having trouble making a mortgage payment, worried about mounting medical bills or struggling with credit card debt, can you concentrate at work? Probably not as much as you should. Financial stress is a growing problem for employees -- and by extension, potentially an even bigger problem for employers. From employee assistance counselors to AARP surveys to academic researchers, more and more reports are citing financial stress as a serious obstacle to productivity. Which is why employers of all sizes -- from large corporations to small businesses -- should be interested in some of the attitudes and ideas regarding financial education in the workplace expressed in the recent Young Adults & Money survey
According to the survey, there's a sizable gap between the financial education and guidance that young employees want and what's actually offered by their employers. For instance, 50 percent of respondents want more retirement plan guidance, while only 30 percent of their employers offer it. Thirty percent want debt management education, but only 8 percent of their employers offer it. It's interesting to me that budgeting, investing, purchasing a home and saving for a child's education are also on the list. You might be asking if it's the responsibility of employers to provide this type of education. I'd say it's more of a mutually beneficial opportunity.
Financial Fitness Makes Good Business Sense.
From a business perspective, whether employers are trying to recruit new workers, retain valued employees or promote company loyalty, offering expanded financial education makes sense. To me, it not only demonstrates the company's commitment, it can boost morale and help employees avoid the financial potholes that cause personal anxiety and negatively impact performance.
For many young adults, entering the workforce is the first chance to apply the financial lessons they've learned -- and to realize what they don't know. It may be the first time they've had to manage a paycheck and support themselves. Employers who offer financial education are in a unique position to help these young people succeed personally and professionally.
Practical Steps Employers Can Take.
From an employer's perspective, money can be an obstacle in providing this type of education. But I believe, with a bit of creative thinking, even smaller businesses can encourage good financial health. Here are some ideas:
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