Prioritising financial wellbeing within your team

Financial Wellbeing is feeling comfortable, secure and at ease with your finances.  Being able to understand and manage your finances not only in your day to day life but also for the future and the ability to make choices. Why is this so important to prioritise within your team or workforce and what are the potential implications.

In the UK, money causes more concerns than any other area of life, according to a report by Salary Finance [1] 40% of workers worried about money, significantly higher than health and relationships.  They also found that those worried about money are 11 times more likely to have trouble sleeping and 10 times more likely to struggle finishing their daily tasks and an increased likelihood of mental health problems related to anxiety (4.1 times more likely) and/ or depression (4.6 times more likely).

It is estimated that the total cost of poor financial wellbeing to businesses is between 9 and 13% of their payroll, caused by absenteeism, retention issues and both lower productivity and engagement.    Taking steps to address personal finance problems and providing employees with the tools and education to build up financial resilience could develop a healthier more engaged work force and a boost to the business’ bottom line.

Financial worries are not all about how much you earn, unsurprisingly they are very high amongst the lower paid however financial wellness issues can be present across all areas of the pay scale as bad habits are formed early and then hard to escape.  Salary Finance found that the 2 main groups most worried about money were those earning between £10 and 14k and those earning over £100k per year.

What can employers do to help with financial wellbeing?  With the absence of financial education in many people’s formal schooling there is a strong case for learning financial skills in the workplace  and many money milestones are reached during a working lifetime, for example changing jobs,  getting on the housing ladder, becoming parents and retiring. There is undeniably a mutual interest in providing these skills and given the level of trust between employers and employees it puts them in a unique position to deliver the education effectively.

Supporting and equipping employees with the tools and education to achieve healthier financial wellbeing can and should be positioned as part of a wider holistic program, working on prevention rather than cure to help employees to formulate a long term financial plan and with it security and peace of mind.

Is your company linked to a regulated financial advice company?  Combining external expertise and knowledge of the internal benefits can be very effective in opening the communication channels within the workforce.   Very often it is easier to speak to a stranger rather than a colleague about money concerns, personal issues or uncertainty.  A financial planner could run group seminars, splitting the workforce into different life stages and addressing the needs of each group and educating them on understanding the implications of decision to their life now and in the future.  A planner should also offer the option of individual ‘financial surgeries’ inviting employees to ‘open up’ about their own situation.  Money is hugely personal and there is a lot of emotion tied up within it, much through poor management or just not understanding. Working on prevention rather than cure could address many issues early on and prevent bigger problems later.  Financial education is a valuable benefit which should be easily accessible, and employees regularly reminded of the resource.

Prioritising financial wellbeing together with mental and physical which are all intertwined, can have a significant impact on increasing employee resilience so they are more capable of navigating the current uncertainty and a happier more profitable workforce.

[1] The Employers Guide to Financial Wellbeing 2018-19

Rebecca Maxwell-Hyslop is a regulated financial planner, if you would like to arrange a no-obligation one-to-one on either a company or personal basis please email on rebecca.maxwell-hyslop@sjpp.co.uk Principal of Rebecca Maxwell-Hyslop Financial Planning Associate Partner Practice of St. James’s Place Wealth Management

The Partner Practice is an Appointed Representative of and represents only St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the Group’s wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on the Group’s website www.sjp.co.uk/products. The titles ‘Partner’ and ‘Partner Practice’ are marketing terms used to describe St. James’s Place representatives.

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