Financial Stress Impacts Job Performance for More Than One Third of Working Americans

Money problems are consistently among most Americans’ top worries when it comes to their personal lives, but a new poll shows that people’s personal financial issues are impacting their professional lives to a significant degree.

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Poll results show 36 percent of working Americans – including 45 percent of millennials – say personal financial worries impact their ability to do their job

Raleigh, N.C. (July 25, 2017) – Money problems are consistently among most Americans’ top worries when it comes to their personal lives, but a new poll shows that people’s personal financial issues are impacting their professional lives to a significant degree.

The poll, commissioned by Workplace Options, a leading global provider of integrated employee well-being services, shows 36 percent of working Americans believe financial stress has impacted their ability to do their job. This sentiment was prevalent across every age group, though more prominent in younger workers with 45 percent of those age 18 to 29, 44 percent of those 30 to 45, and 31 percent of those 46 and older all in agreement.

“The idea that financial stress weighs heavily on people’s minds is well documented, but what this poll shows is the extent to which these issues are impacting employers and the American workplace” said Dean Debnam, chief executive officer at Workplace Options. “Traditionally, employers have viewed their employees’ financial worries as personal issues without much of an impact on the bottom line. Clearly, that position is misguided. Financial stress among employees is taking a toll on productivity for businesses of all shapes and sizes.”

Prevalence of Financial Stress and Top Stressors

Overall, 87 percent of working Americans reported some amount of stress or anxiety due to their personal financial situation. Of those, 48 percent reported either a moderate or significant amount (58 percent for younger working Americans, ages 18 to 29).

The issues that were characterized as the most stressful among respondents were evenly split. Saving for retirement, monthly bills or expenses, and tax issues tied atop the list. In fourth place was managing debt, though this category was overwhelmingly identified as the most stressful aspect of personal finance among younger working Americans (41 percent).

“The youngest generation in the workforce today lived through the worst recession of the past 70 years and they are carrying a heavy load of student loan and consumer debt,” Debnam explained. “It’s important to realize that financial stress is a problem that impacts people of every ethnicity, age group and gender. Young workers may be slightly more prone to have it, but it’s a very real issue facing employees at all levels.”

More Poll Results

Other interesting results of the national poll are as follows:

  • 85 percent of working Americans say they at least occasionally use time during the workday to deal with their personal financial issues, with 41 percent reporting that they do so multiple times per month.
  • 56 percent believe they have colleagues and co-workers whose job performance has been impacted by financial stress.
  • 41 percent say their employer offers some type of support, assistance, or benefits for employees seeking financial information or assistance.
  • When asked what type of information would be the most useful or practical, if offered through their employer, more working Americans said resources about saving for retirement than any other (36 percent compared to 18 percent for the second place categories, tax issues and managing debt).

“As the line between personal and professional erodes, we see more and more instances of employers taking action and interest to support employees through a wide range of issues that were once not even under consideration,” Debnam said. “Financial stress is a great example – if money problems outside of work are impacting people’s ability to focus and perform, then it’s worth considering whether financial counselling or education is a good investment on some level.”

The national poll was commissioned by Workplace Options and conducted by Public Policy Polling. The margin of error was +/-4.4 percent. Click here for full results.

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About Workplace Options

Workplace Options helps employees balance their work, family and personal needs to become healthier, happier and more productive, both personally and professionally. The company’s world-class employee support, effectiveness and well-being services provide information, resources, referrals and consultation on a variety of issues ranging from dependent care and stress management to clinical services and wellness programs.

Drawing from an international network of credentialed providers and professionals, Workplace Options is the world’s largest integrated employee support and work-life services provider. Service centers in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Portugal, France, Belgium, UAE, Singapore, Japan, China, India and Indonesia support more than 53 million employees across 78,000 organizations in more than 200 countries and territories. To learn more, visit