Financial stress remains systemic within Australian society, with almost 2 million Australians experiencing moderate or severe financial stress.
An AMP study shows that financial stress impacts 1.8 million Australian workers, with nearly half feeling stressed for an average of six and a half years or more. That’s costing the economy some $30.9 billion annually due to employee distraction and absenteeism – and COVID-19 could see that figure increase by $4.4 billion.
“Australians continue to suffer the debilitating effects of financial stress, which is taking a huge personal toll on mental and physical wellbeing, particularly for younger women and single parents,” said AMP director of workplace super Ilaine Anderson.
“This is spilling into work with stressed employees worried and distracted, and not performing at the levels they’re capable of, or they don’t turn up at all. The combined effect is costing Australian businesses billions each year.”
The study – which has been running since 2014 – confirms that financial stress is the leading cause of stress in Australia, sitting above family dynamics and personal health. More than a third of Australians find dealing with money, or even thinking about it, stressful and overwhelming.
AMP suggests that employers could provide some form of financial education, and that employees place an average value of $1,300 on financial education provided by employers.
“There is a very real opportunity for employers to offer more financial literacy and education programs to their people, and increase awareness if they already exist – to help them understand and engage with their finances, set goals, put plans in place, and then achieve their desired financial outcomes through informed decision making,” Ms Anderson said.
“The benefits will be seen through improved wellbeing, a more present and engaged workforce and, ultimately, in the performance of their businesses and wider economy.”