Many workers are feeling high levels of stress, according to a Lockton report, “Finding the Links Between Retirement, Stress and Health.” Twenty percent of 600 people surveyed say they feel extremely stressed, and point to their jobs and financial situation as the root causes.
For those who say their financial situation is fair to poor, 40% report high levels of stress. However, for those who believe their financial situation is good to excellent, only 28% say they are extremely stressed.
Asked whether there is a high correlation between their financial situation and stress, 20% said yes, 25% said no and 50% were neutral. Those who felt higher levels of stress tended to be less educated or women with incomes below $50,000.
Among those with fair to poor financial situations, 25% say they have difficulty managing money. This drops to a mere 3% of those with good to excellent finances.
Fifty percent of the respondents say they carry debt of $10,000 or more, not including their mortgage, and they are paying down this debt at a weighted average of $400 a month. The majority of respondents are carrying a mortgage, averaging $1,075 a month.
NEXT: How stress translates to work ethics
Those who feel financial stress report feeling ill, taking time off from work and not being as productive as they could be. They feel tired, and suffer from headaches, depression and other ailments. “Often, this group would be absent or disengaged from their work,” according to the Lockton report. “They were twice as likely to use sick time when they were not ill and more likely to report being nonproductive. Half of all respondents reported using work time to review financial statements or pay bills."
Forty-three percent think that having a retirement plan at work eases their financial concerns somewhat, and 52% say such a plan eases their concerns a great deal. Being successful in the plan also mattered; those who were most retirement ready had the highest levels of job satisfaction.
Overall, 70% think they are knowledgeable about retirement, but this drops to 54% for those experiencing high levels of financial stress. For those who feel low financial stress, 84% think they are knowledgeable about retirement. This confidence in retirement knowledge may not match up with reality, as more than half contribute 6% or less to their retirement plan.
NEXT: How to ease financial concerns
Stockton concludes that more well-rounded financial wellness programs are needed: “Benefits advisers and service providers have already begun the transition from narrowly focused retirement education programs to more integrated financial well-being efforts. Savings-oriented engagement strategies must balance immediate debt, family support and consumer-driven health care costs with long-term investment needs.”