Economic and personal finance-related concerns are top-of-mind for Americans, playing an outsized role in contributing to a decline in mental and physical wellnessGuardian Life Insurance finds Americans’ overall well-being at 12-year low. Access the complete report here.
NEW YORK, Nov. 2, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — In its 12th Annual Workplace Benefits Study, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian®) has found that overall employee well-being has dropped to its lowest level in 12 years, with most Americans citing personal finance-related stressors as the primary contributor to their declining well-being.
The new report, entitled “Mind, Body, and Wallet™,” surveyed more than 4,000 employees and benefit decision-makers. It found that four in 10 American workers are living paycheck to paycheck, and the economy, inflation, and paying off debt are the primary wallet-related concerns for Americans. Further, the report indicated that not only are employees rating their mental, physical, and financial wellness at record lows, they’re doing so following a peak in self-reported well-being in 2022.
“Financial pressure doesn’t exist in a silo and isn’t something that individuals forget about at the end of the workday. When Americans are up at night worrying about finances, it is easy to see how these concerns directly contribute to declining mental and physical wellness,” said Andrew McMahon, CEO and President of Guardian. “At Guardian, we believe that just as mental, physical, and financial stressors are interconnected, so too are the solutions for improving overall wellness. Our report validates our belief that a holistic approach to wellness—leveraging workplace benefits, individual solutions, and a variety of other resources—is the best way forward.”
Access To Workplace Benefits
For many Americans, access to wellness resources begins in the workplace. “Our study shows that employers understand that they have a responsibility to meet employees’ financial wellness needs, with 80% saying that improving workers’ financial security is very or extremely important,” said Jonathan Mayhew, Head of Group Benefits at Guardian. “Additionally, close to half of American workers said they would face financial hardship without their workplace benefits, so offering the right mix of such benefits is paramount to these efforts.”
While the report indicates progress in terms of the variety of workplace benefits offered to support wellness, more can still be done when it comes to building supportive day-to-day workplace cultures. Consider, for example, that one in three workers still rate their mental health as fair or poor and a growing number of employee absences are attributed to mental health issues—with such absences contributing to employee financial stress.
“In our experience, providing inclusive, compassionate, and flexible mental health support not only boosts our colleagues’ well-being, but it also contributes to our high-performing culture,” said Stacey Hoin, Chief Human Resources Officer at Guardian. “We were encouraged to find that many employers are interested in doing more, with three-quarters noting that expanding mental health-related resources is very important.”
Yet, for all the efforts being made in the workplace, there are still gaps. Especially as millions of Americans either do not have access to traditional workplace benefits or such benefits do not provide sufficient coverage, individual resources and solutions are needed. Despite this, many Americans navigate these needs alone, with just 29% saying they work with a financial professional to make financial planning decisions.
“We know that feeling financially confident plays an important role in influencing overall well-being, and proactive preparation is one of the best ways to build that confidence,” said Michael Ferik, Head of Individual Markets at Guardian. “Knowledge is power. So, in looking to build that confidence, individuals need to understand where they could face financial vulnerability in the event of the unexpected and what additional individual protection solutions might be beneficial.”
More information, along with a copy of the full report, is available here.
About the Mind, Body, and Wallet Report
The Guardian 12th Annual Workplace Benefits Study was fielded in January and February of 2023 and consisted of two online surveys: one among 2,000 benefits decision-makers (employers) and another among 2,000 full-time working Americans (employees), allowing us to explore benefits issues from both perspectives. Survey data collection and tabulation were managed for Guardian by Zeldis Research, an independent market research firm located in Ewing, New Jersey.
Results from the 12th Annual Workplace Benefits Study were used to inform the Mind, Body, and Wallet Report.
Guardian makes a difference in the lives of people when they need us most. With more than 160 years of stability and fiscal integrity, we are a trusted resource to millions of consumers, helping them prepare and plan for a bright future and recover and thrive in times of unexpected loss. We believe in inspiring well-being across mind, body, and wallet, and in driving value beyond dividends. We invest in our colleagues, are building a progressive and inclusive culture, and are helping to uplift communities through thoughtful social and environmental programs. Guardian, which is based in NYC, is a leading provider of life, disability, dental, and other benefits, and has received accolades for its culture and service. Our colleagues and financial representatives serve with care and experience, and our commitments rest on a strong financial foundation, which at year-end 2022 included $11 billion in capital and largest dividend of $1.26 billion in the company’s history. For more information, visit guardianlife.com or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.