Purchasing Power Explores the Lack of Financial Literacy among Employees and Offers Solutions for Employers

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Monday, May 9th, 2016

A special report from Purchasing Power, "An Employee Crisis: Financial Literacy," discusses the lack of money management skills and knowledge among employees which leads to financial stress and affects their productivity. It also outlines the steps employers can take to improve the financial literacy of their employees.

The report illustrates several financial struggles employees face, identified through an online survey conducted by Harris Poll last November on behalf of Purchasing Power among U.S. adults employed full-time and/or spouse is employed full-time:

  • 40 percent don't have at least $2,000 in emergency savings for unexpected expenses such as a car breaking down, refrigerator needing replacing or an unexpected health emergency that may occur; and

  • 34 percent have had trouble meeting monthly household expenses, like rent/mortgage, car payments, cable bills and credit card bills.

And the reason why employees could be having financial issues points to a lack of financial literacy. According to an online survey conducted by Harris Poll in March of this year on behalf of Purchasing Power among U.S. adults employed full-time and/or spouse is employed full-time:

  • Two out of five (41 percent) don't have a planned monthly budget;

  • Of those who have a monthly budget, one out of four (26 percent) don't put anything into savings each month; and

  • Nearly one-third (31 percent) say that in the past three years they have run short on funds and had to use credit cards to pay some of their monthly expenses (such as phone, cable, utilities, etc.).

"In today's economy, hard-working Americans continue to struggle with their financial situation. They have trouble meeting monthly expenses, making minimum payments on credit cards, obtaining major purchases they need to make and saving money for unexpected emergencies," said Richard Carrano, Purchasing Power President and CEO. "Their financial stress affects their job performance, making it a problem for their employer. This underscores the need for employers to provide financial wellness education and benefits to help employees improve their financial literacy. Further, employees are looking for these kinds of opportunities from their employers," he added.

Companies can incorporate financial wellness tools into their employee benefit package through various ways including online financial education resources, taking advantage of value-add resources from their current benefit providers; and non-profit financial counseling services. Other programs are available that help employees with their short-term financial needs including employee purchase programs, discount programs and short-term loans.