Employee Financial Concerns Center on Debt Woes

November 5, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Nearly half (45%) of all employee calls into Financial Finesse's Financial Helpline have questions about debt management, but that trend may be starting to wane.

While employees dialing into the financial education company’s financial answer hotline are most often asking questions such as “how do I deal with my creditors?” or “how can I check/improve my credit rating?” the silver lining is that concerns about debt are 10% lower than they were just a quarter previously; signifying a potential shift in employee financial focus from spending and debt to saving, according to data from Financial Finesse’s Financial Helpline.

In fact, Financial Finesse found overall, there was a decline in “financial crisis” calls, such as:

  • withdrawing assets from employee retirement plans
  • taking out 401(k) loans
  • negotiating with the IRS on overdue taxes
  • filing for bankruptcy
  • dealing with foreclosure on a home.

Financial Finesse attributes this shift toward more proactive financial planning due to a plethora of reasons, mostly notably the overall uptick in the economy. With a sustained movement toward growth in both the broad markets and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) comes financial prosperity for corporate America and thus employees begin to reap the rewards through such profit sharing programs as stock options and performance driven bonuses and sales commissions. The increased earnings then allow employees to dig out of the debt hole and focus more attention to achieving major financial goals such as saving for retirement or providing for the children’s education.

As such, budgeting and saving calls now make up 14% of the volume at the Financial Helpline, followed by:

  • Retirement Planning – 10%
  • Homeownership – 9%
  • Miscellaneous (estate planning, stock options, insurance, investing) – 8%
  • Taxes – 6%
  • Education Planning – 4%
  • Finding a financial planner – 4%.

The trend though did not happen on its own, and Financial Finesse noted companies and their human resource departments are investing more time and energy into financial education programs, helping to increase employee awareness of the savings and investing programs available to them.

More information about Financial Finesse’s Financial Helpline is available at http://www.financialfinesse.com/ffinesse/jsp/helpline.jsp.