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.
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.