New research by The Hartford, a leading provider of employee benefits and absence management, finds 63% of U.S. workers feel their financial stress has increased over the past year and 56% say their financial stress negatively impacts their mental health. Financial stress and its harm to mental health are higher among younger workers, who are also more likely to live paycheck to paycheck.
My financial stress
has increased over
the past year
My financial stress
negatively impacts my
I live paycheck to
U.S. workers ages 18-34
U.S. workers ages 35-54
U.S. workers ages 55+
“The rising rate of financial stress along with its negative effect on employee mental health is a warning for employers of all sizes,” said Laura Marzi, benefits expert and head of marketing for Group Benefits at The Hartford. “We know many employers offer benefits and tools to help address the physical, financial, and mental health of their workforce. Employers who take notice of this trend and make these benefits easier to understand and more accessible will benefit from employees who are healthier, happier and more productive.”
More than half of workers ages 18-34 (53%) say they wish their employer could help with financial coaching and 46% say they are comfortable talking about their personal finances in the workplace. This is starkly different than older workers, with 38% of those ages 35-54 and 14% of those ages 55+ say they wish their employer could help with financial coaching. Thirty-nine percent of workers ages 35-54 and only 18% of workers ages 55+ are comfortable talking about their personal finances in the workplace.
Many U.S. workers are not prepared financially for an emergency, with 39% of respondents reporting they have less than $1,000 in savings or no savings at all, according to The Hartford’s latest Future of Benefits Pulse Survey. Among those with little or no savings, women are more likely than men to have no savings or less than $500 (42% vs. 20%).
Although many U.S. workers have little or no emergency fund, savings (49%) was the No. 1 resource they will rely on to make ends meet if they experience an injury or illness that prevents them from working for 12 weeks or more. This is followed by short-term disability insurance (31%) and company-provided paid family and medical leave (24%). Fourteen percent of workers would not be able to make ends meet if they were out of work for 12 weeks or more.
Most U.S. Workers are Preparing for a Possible Recession
With the increase in financial stress in the current economic environment, most U.S. workers (81%) are taking steps to prepare for a possible recession, while 19% say they are not making any changes. In the national survey, the top five actions workers are taking to prepare for a recession are:
- Cutting back on day-to-day expenses: 40%
- Paying off debt: 30%
- Increasing contributions to savings and/or investment accounts: 23%
- Looking for a higher-paying job: 19%
- Getting a second job to increase their household income: 17%
Black (87%) and Hispanic (89%) workers are more likely to be taking action to prepare for a possible recession than white workers (78%). About one-quarter of Black (24%) and Hispanic (25%) workers are looking for a higher-paying job compared to 15% of white workers.
Financial Sentiment Split Heading into 2023
U.S. workers are split on how they feel about their personal finances heading into 2023. When asked to provide one or two words to describe how they feel heading into 2023, 44% used words that had negative sentiment, while 42% are more optimistic and 14% are neutral.
Some of the phrases U.S. workers used to describe how they feel about their personal finances heading into 2023, include:
- Negative sentiment: Not ready, worried, uneasy, inadequate, scared and nervous, stressed and sad, broken, unprepared, horrible, and nervous and frustrated
- Optimistic sentiment: Hopeful, comfortable, better, optimistic, confident, good, strong and promising, hopeful and positive, determined to succeed, and happy
A national omnibus online survey was conducted in the U.S. among approximately 900 full-time and part-time employed adults aged 18+. The research was conducted November 14-15, 2022. The margin of error is +/- 3% at a 95% confidence level.
About The Hartford
The Hartford is a leader in property and casualty insurance, group benefits and mutual funds. With more than 200 years of expertise, The Hartford is widely recognized for its service excellence, sustainability practices, trust and integrity. More information on the company and its financial performance is available at https://www.thehartford.com.
The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., (NYSE: HIG) operates through its subsidiaries under the brand name, The Hartford, and is headquartered in Hartford, Connecticut. For additional details, please read The Hartford’s legal notice.
Some of the statements in this release may be considered forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We caution investors that these forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results may differ materially. Investors should consider the important risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ. These important risks and uncertainties include those discussed in our 2021 Annual Report on Form 10-K, subsequent Quarterly Reports on Forms 10-Q, and the other filings we make with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We assume no obligation to update this release, which speaks as of the date issued.
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