AUSSIES struggling with financial wellbeing want their employers to help, though not necessarily in the form of a payrise, new research suggests.
Fintech firm Map My Plan canvassed employees from a range of organisations for its Financial Stress in the Australian Workplace insight paper, finding 31 per cent were worried about their finances and 8 per cent so much they had trouble sleeping.
Map My Plan founder Paul Feeney said financial wellbeing did not mean simply having more money.
HOW FITNESS HELPS YOUR FINANCES
“Financial wellbeing is really about people’s ability to manage day to day expenses,” he said. “It also means being prepared for financial shocks, such as loss of job or illness.”
Further Map My Plan research found many households were unprepared, storing $1000 or less in savings.
“The average working Australian can cover three and a half weeks of expenses before having to go into debt to put food on the table,” Mr Feeney said.
“Interestingly, salary didn’t make that much of a difference. The only difference that makes people financially fitter is that they have a plan. There are people on less money that we would regard as financially super fit.”
A financial wellbeing plan can begin with taking stock of a situation and changing obvious bad habits.
“It’s realising where I am and what I can do differently,” Mr Feeney said. “First, pay down credit card debt. The most destroying thing you can do is maintain credit card debt. There are a lot of people out there who have cash savings, but still have credit card debt.”
Mr Feeney said some workplaces help by providing tools for employees such as courses, in-house financial advisers and information sessions with their superannuation funds, but more are now turning to interactive financial planning tools.
“People spend hours a week on personal finance at work,” Mr Feeney said. “So there’s a benefit to employers to help them. We get ergonomic chairs, gym memberships and healthy food at work, but financial wellbeing is just as important.”
Frollo is another firm targeting financial wellbeing, through its financial engagement app, which puts user’s bank accounts, superannuation, investments and loans together where they can see them and suggests improvements or money saving challenges.
Frollo CEO Gareth Gumbley claims finance is the number one cause of stress in the average Australian home.
“Half the population is living from pay cheque to pay cheque,” Mr Gumbley said. “There is a fear of the unknown when it comes to money in the future, but also ‘how do I get through the next two weeks’?
“Our philosophy is that if you improve your financial wellbeing, it will filter through to the rest of your life.”
Tips to fix finances without earning more money
•Set goals as to what you want to achieve, and face up to your current situation by grouping all your financial information in one place.
•Educate yourself — have a look at the information available online.
•Don’t compare yourself to others — Advice relevant to your own situation is key.
•Ask for help — your employer may have resources or engage a qualified financial adviser.
•Take advantage of free resources — Make sure they aren’t affiliated with a product and are independent.