Financial stress makes workers insomniac, less productive

Many Americans may have found ways to be more comfortable with less money during the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean their account balances have them floating on cloud nine.

In fact, nearly all full-time workers in the United States (97%) report experiencing financial stress in one form or another, according to a new Purchasing Power survey, which was conducted by Harris Poll in March and questioned more than 1,100 Americans with full-time jobs. It also revealed that more than half (54%) of respondents were “unable or barely able to cover monthly living expenses over the past year – a figure that has only fallen by 2% from to 2021.

Interestingly, it’s not just those at the bottom of the income scale who are increasingly feeling squeezed and stressed – a quarter of six-figure earning households are also living paycheck to paycheck. , according to the data. “What’s surprising is that these results aren’t exclusive to low-income households,” said Trey Loughran, CEO of Purchasing Power, a provider of employee purchasing programs.

When you consider that inflation is also eating away at Americans’ purchasing power, it may be safe to assume that Americans are feeling more financial stress than ever, even during the slump of the pandemic, when stimulus and support systems government temporarily helped ease monetary pressures. for many homes.

And financial stress can be a multidimensional problem. A 2021 survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that among the top ‘significant sources of stress’ for the more than 3,000 respondents were ‘work’, ‘money’, ‘the economy’ , “housing costs” and “job stability.”

Bosses, you should care

As for why employers may worry that virtually all of their employees feel the lack of money, financial stress has been linked to a variety of job performance issues, such as a loss of productivity and loss of focus, which could lead to errors and potential lost revenue.

Paying employees more can help: A 2021 NBER working paper studying the effects of financial stress on low-income Indian workers found that workers who get paid earlier and more can see their productivity increase by up to 7.1%, in addition to making fewer errors.

People with financial stress also say it affects their sleep, physical health and overall happiness, in addition to contributing to their overall stress at home, according to the Purchasing Power report.

Paying employees more may not be a permanent solution for all workers, especially in times of high inflation, as even relatively high-income households, such as those earning six figures, are struggling financially. . For some, coping with financial pressure will take planning and strategy. And if the economy slips into a recession, which is more likely than not at this point, it may be more important than ever to get your personal finances under control.

For the millions of Americans trying to get their financial anxiety under control, getting back to some financial basics is probably the easiest and most effective route. This includes taking relatively simple steps like creating a budget, tracking your expenses, and even reaching out to a professional for help, according to APA.

While these steps don’t necessarily serve as an overnight financial panacea, getting your finances under control can be an important first step to feeling more confident about your financial situation, or at least helping you sleep at night.

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