New research from leading Australian life insurer, TAL, highlights the impact of mounting financial stress on the wellbeing of employees, their performance and workplace productivity, and how quality financial literacy resources can help alleviate this stress.
Research for the TAL Financial Health and Literacy Whitepaper reveals one in four respondents (25%) are currently experiencing a high level of financial stress, while 40% said high financial stress has negatively impacted their work. Worryingly, 41% of respondents currently experiencing a high level of financial stress said they take time out of work to deal with personal finances.
One key finding from the 800 research participants, who are all currently employed and have a superannuation account, was the volume who reported that financial stress has made them disengaged and ineffective at work; impacted their ability to focus; and heightened fears about their job security.
The research also revealed a strong correlation between financial literacy and financial stress, indicating an important role for employers, along with partners like superannuation funds and banks, in addressing knowledge gaps through financial literacy resources and education.
While 82% of respondents believed they would benefit from having access to financial education and tools, regardless of how confident they feel about the future, just 15% have been offered these by their employer. In the current economic environment, Australian employees are looking for help to manage the rising cost of living, and corresponding financial stress levels. The research shows they are looking to their employers as a key source for that help.
TAL General Manager, Industry Fund Partnerships, Dan Taylor said the research insights could support employers to have more meaningful engagement with employees, by shining a light on these issues and providing practical solutions to help employees reduce financial stress through increased financial literacy education and guidance.
“Our research shows that increasing an employee’s financial literacy is one of the best ways to help them lower their financial stress, which is in line with what we’re seeing elsewhere around the world.”
“This represents a real opportunity for employers to provide tools and resources to help them understand and be better informed in making decisions to improve their financial health. Employers can also look to their partners, like superannuation funds and banks, to help them educate and support their employees.”
“Supporting the financial wellbeing of employees can involve helping them understand when they may be impacted by financial stress, access the right expertise and take action if needed,” Mr Taylor said.
TAL has created TAL Employer Assist, an online hub for exclusive use by TAL’s superannuation partners for this very purpose. The hub includes tools and resources they can share with employers for their employees, promote greater financial literacy and overall financial health.
The TAL Financial Health and Literacy Whitepaper can be downloaded here.