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6 Key Findings on Employee Financial Wellness

We dug deep into employees' financial health, and the results are surprising

March 16, 2023

Want to learn more? Download a copy of the full report;

"The State of Employee Financial Health and Wealth"

It’s no secret that American workers are more stressed about money than ever before. Finances have always been a leading cause of stress among American workers. While the pandemic didn’t cause this problem, it did exacerbate it.

Today’s employees want more from their employers, making financial wellness one of the hottest employee benefits.

Nearly all employees (93%) want their employers to offer increased access to financial planning and advisory services, but only one-third (28%) do so. That’s according to new research from our inaugural State of Employee Financial Health and Wealth report. We asked 1,000 salaried U.S. employees to share their financial habits and relationship with money. We set out to answer questions about:

  • How do U.S. workers feel about the state of their financial health?

  • What causes the most financial stress?

  • Where do they go for financial advice?

  • How ready do they feel about retirement?

  • What are they doing to build wealth?

The results confirmed that financial stress is still a major issue for U.S. employees, and they are looking to their employers for help. Below, we’ve highlighted 6 key insights on the financial health of U.S. workers.

1. Employees need financial support

If we take a step back and look at the state of financial wellness during the Great Reshuffle, it’s clear employees are struggling. Of the 1,000 employees we surveyed, only 50% felt somewhat confident in their financial health and wellness, leaving half the workforce feeling insecure about their financial lives.

2. Americans turn to Google and social media for financial advice

Overall, the majority of U.S. workers don’t know where to turn for financial advice, with two-thirds of workers wanting to make more informed decisions about their investments, but don’t know how. Almost half (44%) of employees use a simple search, like Google or Bing, for advice, while 36% of people use social media platforms, like Instagram and TikTok.

With so much information available online, it may not be a surprise that people turn to the internet for financial information. But what happens if you receive harmful advice? As we saw earlier this year with GameStop, traders lost millions of dollars to bad financial advice from the internet.

3. Financial stress is hitting some groups harder than others

Specifically, respondents over 45 and female respondents are more likely to indicate that their financial health took a turn for the worse over the past year—likely due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Men are nearly 2x more likely to be confident or very confident in their financial health than women (62% of male respondents versus 38% of female respondents). Women are also 10% more likely than men to say their financial health is the same or worse than last year.

4. Housing costs and student loans top the list of financial woes for employees

Between worrying about mass layoffs and hitting pause on milestones, such as purchasing a home, it’s no wonder that employees are feeling lost about their finances—to the point where they’re struggling to make basic ends meet. 27% of respondents said their mortgage or rent payment causes the most financial stress, followed by student loan debt (18%).

5. Cryptocurrency is on a sharp rise as a way to build wealth

Our survey also found that employees over 45 are less likely to diversify their investments. While investing in cryptocurrency has become a popular wealth-building strategy, only 15% of those over 45 put additional income into cryptocurrency—compared to 34% of respondents between the ages of 36 to 45, and 33% of respondents between the ages of 22 to 35. Men are 27% more likely to put additional income into cryptocurrencies to build wealth than women.

6. Employees are looking to their employers for financial guidance

With an increased level of financial stress but nowhere to turn, nearly all (93%) employees indicated that they’re looking to their employers for financial planning. Unfortunately, less than one-third (28%) of companies are giving workers the financial guidance they need.

Employers are looking for the most enticing compensation and benefits to attract and retain talent. Financial health benefits can win the battle for talent in the modern workplace.

Origin helps employers fill in this gap. Origin is a comprehensive financial wellness platform that helps employees manage their compensation, benefits, and personal finances—all with the personalized guidance of financial professionals. To get even more insights, download our full report “The State of Financial Health and Wealth.”