Mid-Year Check-up

Are American Workers Feeling Financially and Physically Fit?

Study finds connection between health and wealth

July 20, 2015 — DES MOINES, Iowa–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As summer kicks off and we enter the second half of the year, are American workers as financially and physically healthy as they think they are?

ccording to new research from the Principal Financial Well-Being IndexSM: American Workers, employees are feeling optimistic about their physical and financial health, and see a connection between the two.

Only 4 percent of workers rated themselves as physically unhealthy, and over half of workers (52 percent) believe they are making good progress toward their long-term financial goals. Eighty-seven percent of workers agree that being physically healthy is an investment in their financial future. Another 77 percent believe that spending time and money on their physical health now will help to avoid major health costs later in life.

Taking steps to action

“It’s one thing to recognize the critical role of health and financial stability in determining our future well-being, but it is another thing entirely to take the necessary actions to achieve those goals. As the future becomes more uncertain than ever before, it’s crucial that younger generations take control of their finances and health as early as possible,” said Jerry Ripperger, vice president of consulting, The Principal®. “As Americans head to the beach this summer, there is a heightened awareness around physical health and fitness. It’s a great time to also check-in on our financial well-being.”

The Principal Financial Well-Being Index: American Workers surveyed more than 1,110 American workers (aged 18+) working at small to mid-sized business across geographies and demographics. The Index is part of a series of quarterly studies commissioned by The Principal Knowledge Center examining the financial well-being of American workers, business owners and advisor opinions and practice management.

The survey was conducted online in February 2015 by Harris Poll.

Goals on track?

Are you doing everything you can to ensure your physical and financial fitness goals are on track? Jerry Ripperger has provided a few simple steps that can help American workers keep their financial health in check:


Talk to a professional. You know you should be going to the doctor at least once a year, and the same holds true for financial check-ups.

  • Employees who work with an advisor (52 percent) are more likely to say they are happy with their current financial situation than employees who go it alone (31 percent).
  • Additionally, employees might hold misconceptions about what part of their financial health is important if they don’t use a financial professional. Employees who do not use a financial professional (39 percent) are more likely to say paying down debt is a top priority compared to those who use a financial professional (20 percent).
  • Interestingly, men (55 percent) are significantly more interested in using a worksite financial professional compared to women (39 percent). They are also 27 percent (55 percent vs. 42 percent) more likely to rate themselves as financially healthy.


Set goals: You can’t begin a diet or workout routine without having achievable goals in place. Nor can you properly plan for the future. “Budget” can be a scary word for people, but it doesn’t have to mean restriction. What it does mean is being in control and knowing where your money is going. Only when you're truly honest with yourself about your spending can you make a plan that works.

  • About half (52 percent) of employees say they have monitored their spending levels in the past years as a way to give themselves a financial checkup. Only three in ten (31 percent) say they have created a budget.


It’s one thing to recognize the critical role of health and financial stability in determining our future well-being, but it is another thing entirely to take the necessary actions to achieve those goals

Write it down: Working out and dieting is great, but there is no way to measure success without keeping track of results. In this vein, it’s imperative to keep records of your income and spending.

  • Over half of employees (58 percent) say they usually feel in control of their personal financial situation. However, employees who use a financial professional are more likely to feel in control of their personal financial situation (71 percent) than employees who do not (54 percent). Financial professionals are extremely useful for helping track financial well-being, which in turn helps employees feel more in control of their personal financial situation.


Party on! When you hit a milestone and reach your goals, celebrate. It’s OK to reward yourself for a job well done. In fact, we insist!

For more research, analysis and insights, visit The Principal Knowledge Center and connect with us on Twitter.




About the Survey
This Principal Financial Well-Being IndexSM: American Workers survey was conducted online within the United States on the Principal Financial Group®’s behalf by Harris Poll between February 9 and February 17, 2015 among 1,110 employees. This is one in a series of quarterly studies to identify and track changes in the workplace of small and mid-sized (growing) businesses.
The first Principal Financial Well-Being IndexSM survey was conducted in the United States in 2000. Employees consisted of adults 18+ who work at small and mid-sized (SMB) U.S. businesses (firm size 10-1,000 employees).
About The Harris Poll
Over the last 5 decades, Harris Polls have become media staples. With comprehensive experience and precise technique in public opinion polling, along with a proven track record of uncovering consumers’ motivations and behaviors, The Harris Poll has gained strong brand recognition around the world. The Harris Poll offers a diverse portfolio of proprietary client solutions to transform relevant insights into actionable foresight for a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer packaged goods.
About the Principal Financial Group
The Principal Financial Group® (The Principal®)1 is a global investment management leader offering retirement services, insurance solutions and asset management. The Principal offers businesses, individuals and institutional clients a wide range of financial products and services, including retirement, asset management and insurance through its diverse family of financial services companies.
Founded in 1879 and a member of the FORTUNE 500®, the Principal Financial Group has $530.3 billion in assets under management2 and serves some 19.9 million customers worldwide from offices in Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America and the United States. Principal Financial Group, Inc. is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol PFG. For more information, visit www.principal.com.
1 “The Principal Financial Group” and “The Principal” are registered service marks of Principal Financial Services, Inc., a member of the Principal Financial Group.
2 As of March 31, 2015.