How Companies Can Address Finances and Mental Health at Work - man and woman at home working on financial documents together

How Companies Can Address Finances and Mental Health at Work

David Malmborg
May 17, 2022
October 9, 2022

Finance is the #1 stressor that Americans face. Yet, just like mental health, personal finances have been a taboo topic.

When we don't talk about it, we are less likely to get help.

Only 1% of people have a financial advisor, and many people forgo 401k and other financial benefits at work.

Here's how employers can start changing that trend so more people can live abundantly.

You can watch the entire conversation on Finances for Mental Health below. Follow us on Linkedin to stay in the loop on future live stream events.

Finances are Stressful for Nearly Everyone

Financial stress is a common struggle for anyone, regardless of how much money they make.

"Some of the most financially stressed-out people make more than $150,000 per year. It's not a function of your income, it's a function of what you do with it and the habits you have to manage your money. Either of those can be fixed. There's no amount of money you can make to be comfortable. At the end of the day, it matters less about how much you make and more about what you do with it." - Spencer Barclay, Founder and CEO of Savology

Finding Solutions

With 60-70% of people living paycheck to paycheck, most people can benefit from better financial habits.

The good news is that healthier financial habits are possible—especially when employers step in to help.

The key is to provide employees with financial planning and literacy tools, including a personal finance expert.

"Almost everyone can benefit from having a financial planner and setting those financial goals," states Barclay. Tools like Savology can bring financial planning to the vast majority of Americans that otherwise would not use it.

How Finances Relate to Mental Health

Financial stress negatively impacts mental health, and poor mental health worsens financial wellness.

This can lead to presenteeism in the workplace, when employees are physically at work but mentally checked out.

Those struggling with depression, one of the most common mental health struggles and an offshoot of financial stress, lose 35% of their productivity.

Context switching (working on and switching between multiple tasks at once) is a typical result of financial stress. Employees may be working on a work task while also worrying about finances or trying to solve a personal financial problem they have.

Joseph Draschil reflects, "They're there [employees], at their desks or in meetings, but in their mind, they are context switching between what is going on right now and the financial issues they are dealing with.

Related: Understanding The Link Between Financial Wellbeing and Mental Health

4 Ways to Improve Financial Wellness

"Similar to how it would be in mental health, everyone has a slightly different problem, and everyone has a slightly different solution. No two people are created the same, and financial situations are very rarely the same as well. What we do [Savology] is look through a few different areas and determine which one might be most impactful for them."

These areas are:

  1. Financial Planning
  3. Financial Coaching
  5. Accountability
  7. Financial Literacy

1. Financial Planning

Financial planning is simply deciding what your financial goals are and figuring out how to get there.

Barcley makes an encouraging point: "So many people are actually doing pretty well with their finances; they just need to be reassured of their position to feel better about it."

A financial coach can help employees create a custom financial plan, or employees can get started on their own by budgeting and creating retirement plan goals.

Here are some simple steps employees can take to get started with financial planning.

2. Financial Coaching

Employees can also talk to a financial coach or planner. A coach can walk with them as they create a personalized financial plan and start reaching those goals.  Draschil shares the power of unpacking stressors: "As we share with somebody, whether that's a therapist or a financial coach, we are able to unpack our story to the various subcomponents, and then you realize it's not scary anymore. You can see it with someone else there who can also see it with you, and then it is time to move onto a plan and strategies to tackle it."

Having a trusted outside perspective can make financial stressors easier to address.

3. Accountability

Instead of talking to a financial coach, employees can also set aside time to meet with a trusted person in their life to talk about finances. This could be a partner, friend, or loved one. Accountability and talking about finances is crucial for those that are sharing finances or financial obligations.

4. Financial Literacy

Learning about money can significantly reduce uncertainty and unknowns behind financial stress. Gaining fincnaicl literacy can include listening to podcasts, reading books, and subscribing to newsletters.

Companies can educate their employees about the financial benefits you already offer, which can also reduce financial stress. Many people don't realize what they are missing regarding 401k matches and other financial benefits.

It's all about gaining knowledge so you can make better decisions.

This article by Savology can help you get some ideas on where to learn more about personal finances: 9 Ways to Improve Your Financial Literacy Today

How Companies Can Help

Companies can improve financial wellness at work by discussing why financial wellbeing matters, creating a strategy to improve financial wellness within the culture and within the company compensation framework, and teaching employees how to improve their financial wellbeing.

Lunch and learns about personal finances is a great place to start. You can bring in a financial coach to lead it for you and have your HR team talk about the financial benefits you offer; not just salary, but the entire package. Then, teach employees how to make better use of their salary and those benefits.

"It's not a zero-sum game. We can all improve our finances together." - Spencer Barlcay, Founder and CEO of Savology

Companies can also help address the emotional side of finances by offering therapy options for their team.

Check out the entire conversation below to learn more about finances and mental health.

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David Malmborg
David Malmborg