Study: Money Woes Affecting Workplace Performance

March 23, 2005 ( - Not only are one in four Americans stressing out over their financial picture, but many of them have allowed that financial distress to interfere with their work performance.

That is the conclusion of a new research report from 30 academics and other financial experts based on their analysis of 11 business sponsored surveys including 10 done in 2004 and 10 recent academic research studies as well as new research findings.

According to a news release, 30% to 80% of financially distressed workers spend time at work worrying about personal finances and dealing with financial issues instead of working. “Thirty million workers in America – one in four – are seriously financially distressed and dissatisfied with their personal financial situations,” the research paper said.

Asserted E. Thomas Garman, professor emeritus, Virginia Tech University, in the news release: “It’s an ugly situation for employers when more and more of their workers are distressed about their personal finances and running hard just to keep their heads above water financially”

Researchers wrote: “They may take time off from work to talk with co-workers about personal financial problems, communicate with creditors about past due payments pay personal bills, balance a checkbook, or talk to a lender about a debt consolidation loan. Because of their financial distactions, they often report they are unable to carry out their normal responsibilitie, have to cut down their workload and are not able to accompliish as much as usual.”

Not only does the work performance of many of these worrywarts suffer, but 40% to 50% of the financially distressed reported that their health has been damaged as well because of their financial worries and problems. “Health problems caused by financial distress cost employers big money,” said Garman. “These findings should motivate employers to offer employees access to resources, counseling and advice to decrease their stress about money matters and improve their financial lives.”

Of those who admit to being fiscally distressed, many report “high” to “overwhelming” levels of financial distress, according to the report. They are dissatisfied with their financial situation and worry about money, debt and bills. They usually are insecure about their personal finances for retirement. They worry about having enough money to live on once they retire.

Often, they lack confidence about their abilities to manage personal finances. Many do not even have hope that they might one day be able to catch up financially. The report is available here .