Financial knowledge not translating into action, wellness: Survey

Only one-third of workers over 50 have strategy for retirement savings
||Last Updated: 05/10/2018
finance, education, wellness, health
Thirty-nine per cent of respondents to a recent survey said their total monthly loan payment is more than their take-home pay. Shutterstock

Although financial literacy levels are high among Canadian employees, knowledge is not translating into action and financial security and wellness, according to a survey by Mercer.

Just over half (51 per cent) of respondents said they are knowledgeable about financial matters. However:

  • seven out of 10 said they would have difficulty in managing a financial shock (such as losing three months of work)
  • 39 per cent said their total monthly loan payment is more than their take-home pay
  • 51 per cent said they are stressed by financial matters.

“Something we see time and time again is financial literacy doesn’t translate into financial wellness,” said Jillian Kennedy, leader of Canadian DC and financial wellness at Mercer in Canada. “It’s a trend that spans all ages, income levels and gender. From productivity to engagement to employee health, it’s becoming increasingly important for employers to be a part of the solution in bridging wellness and literacy for employees.”

While financial wellness programs are viewed as a major factor in selecting a new employer (30 per cent), only 40 per cent of workers surveyed say they trust their employers, compared with 72 per cent who trust their personal finance advisor, found the Inside Employees’ Minds Financial Wellness survey of more than 1,500 employees.

Of the women surveyed, less than half (43 per cent) say they are knowledgeable or fairly knowledgeable about financial matters (compared to 58 per cent of men). In addition, 67 per cent of women are stressed about their financial situation.

“There’s no one-size-fits all approach for employers to help their employees,” said Kennedy. “It’s important to tailor wellness programs to each companies’ workforce to drive productivity and engagement, not to mention general health overall.” 

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