Can lack of work productivity be blamed on money stress? A new report says yes.
Nearly seven in ten Millennials and Generation Z Americans report that stress surrounding their finances has negatively affected their productivity at work, according to a survey released today from the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA).
87% of working Americans reported feeling stressed about their finances, and nearly one-third (32%) reported spending half an hour, or more a workday thinking about their finances.
David Edmisten, CFP of Next Phase Financial Planning, says taking stock can reduce money stress, “A lot of people feel stress from their finances, and higher costs due to inflation are making that pressure more severe recently. Taking stock of your current financial situation is important to understand where you stand. Then, take action on the items that are within your control. You can look at ways to cut expenses.”
The same survey reports that 74% of working adults sense that their coworkers stress about their finances due to an increase in inflation.
Further, almost seven in 10 (69%) respondents stated they would perform better at work if their employer offered more financial wellness benefits, with more than four in five (81%) Millennials and nearly three-fourths (74%) of men in agreement.
Americans Are Contributing Less to Retirement
Amid inflation concerns and financial stressors, survey data also reveals Americans are contributing less to their retirement. Almost three in five (58%) working adults have contributed less money toward retirement due to inflation, with 69% of Millennials cutting their retirement contributions.
Additionally, nearly half of the respondents (49%) reported that they were unsure of how much money they needed to retire comfortably, with 55% of Baby Boomers agreeing.
Chad Duncan, MSFP, AFC®, Minimalist Financial, understands the confusion, “Knowing how much to contribute to your retirement accounts, where to invest it, and if what you are doing is enough can be overwhelming. Not to mention including taxes, incorporating inflation, and assessing your risk tolerance. These can be resolved by working with an advisor or picking up a retirement book and calculator.”
Employer Plans Are Not Enough
The survey reveals that retirement plans provided by employers are not substantial enough for employees financial planning goals.
Nearly half (49%) of respondents felt they could not retire comfortably on their employer-sponsored retirement plan alone.
“Retirement plan options that exist within current 401(k) lack a lot of options,” says Duncan, researching outside employer-sponsored plans may be the best option. He continues, “among these options are target date retirement funds. These are a great option for people who don’t have advisors and don’t want to stress that they aren’t doing enough with their retirement accounts.””
“Due to the serious impacts of inflation and other current financial stressors, consumers desire assistance and understanding from their employers regarding financial wellness,” says Geoffrey Brown, CAE, NAPFA CEO. But if employers are not providing these options, “Consumers can more easily navigate these financial concerns and best utilize financial wellness programs from employers with the help of Fee-Only financial planners.”
While employee-sponsored financial plans are a great benefit for employees, financial wellness benefits that focus on financial literacy and personalized, vetted advice from a personal financial advisor can help employees navigate their financial future.
It is becoming increasingly important that Americans work with a professional they can trust to help them navigate their financial future. Fee-only financial planners are affordable, regulated, and fiduciaries, meaning they put the client’s interests above their own.
According to Duncan, Americans who experience stress about money and retirement should reach out to an advisor, “A great first step is to reach out to an advisor or coach to conduct some research on what they do, how they can serve you, and what the outcomes can be.”
To find a reputable financial advisor, he suggests going to Wealthtender, which provides a directory of financial advisors and a variety of consumer resources, including details on how to find a financial advisor.
Blaine Thiederman, CFP, Progress Wealth Management, agrees, “If you’re young and work with a financial advisor, they should help you better understand everything about how to create the financial future you hope for by helping you budget, invest more effectively, save more purposefully, renegotiate your salary and understand what you need to do to retire when and how you’d like.”