How to Help Employees Overcome Financial Stress

August 11, 2016 Ladan Nikravan

Even in a post-recession environment, many working Americans are still struggling with anxiety over their finances. Three-quarters of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck to make ends meet, according to a survey from CareerBuilder, and while making ends meet is a struggle for many post-recession, those with minimum wage jobs continue to be hit the hardest. Of workers who currently have a minimum wage job or have held one in the past, 66 percent said they couldn’t make ends meet, and 50 percent said they had to work more than one job to make it work.

Workers may not be taking full advantage of their available saving opportunities, either. According to the survey, 16 percent of all workers have reduced their 401k contribution and/or personal savings in the last year, 36 percent do not participate in a 401k plan, IRA or comparable retirement plan, and 25 percent have not set aside any savings each month in the last year.

Perhaps in effort to help struggling employees, employers are taking a stance and advocating for higher pay. Not only do the majority of employers think minimum wage should be raised, but more employers than last year feel this way. Only 5 percent of all employers believe the federal minimum wage ($7.25 per hour) is fair. The majority (67 percent) feel a fair minimum wage is $10 or more per hour, up from 61 percent last year; and 15 percent say a fair minimum wage is $15 or more per hour, up from 11 percent last year. Sixty-four percent of employers believe minimum wage should be increased in their state, up from 62 percent in 2014.

But although 67 percent of employers feel a fair minimum wage is $10 or more per hour, of those hiring minimum wage workers this year, almost half (48 percent) said they’re going to pay less than $10.

  • Less than $8:00: 11 percent
  • $8.00-$8.99 per hour: 23 percent
  • $9.00-$9.99 per hour: 14 percent
  • $10.00-$10.99 per hour: 21 percent
  • $11.00-$11.99 per hour: 7 percent
  • $12.00-$12.99 per hour: 8 percent
  • $13.00-$13.99 per hour: 6 percent
  • $14.00-$14.99 per hour: 5 percent
  • $15.00 or more per hour: 6 percent


How You Fit In

If you want your business to run smoothly, consider how you can unobtrusively help your employees with their finances. While employers are not always able to raise wages, many have found ways to offer additional perks or benefits that can help employees who are struggling. For example, offering financial counseling as part of their retirement savings package or even looking at local perks, such as movie ticket discounts or deals with nearby restaurants.

There’s a reason companies invest in employee wellness programs: They are good for the company and good for employees. Investing in financial health is similar. Here are a few other things employers can do to help employees be more financially stable:

  • Host workshops on topics such as personal budgeting, credit managing, estate planning, estimating retirement savings and investment basics.
  • Hire experts to provide detailed information on complicated finance issues, such as an attorney speaking to employees about creating a will.
  • Organize lunch-and-learn seminars about financial topics such as understanding the stock market.
  • Provide one-on-one counseling to discuss monthly budgeting and contributions to a 401(k).

 

The best way to know which benefits employees want most is to ask. Listening to their needs and trying to tailor benefits goes a long way toward helping employees feel more financially secure – and more loyal to the company.

 

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