Significantly more Americans are financially stressed today than three years ago, says Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Financial stress has jumped from affecting 60 percent of respondents from 50 percent in 2013, according to a survey released by the company on Wednesday.
At the same time, 55 percent of employees admit to needing help managing their finances, including saving for retirement and managing debt.
“Given how many are struggling with today’s financial demands while planning for their future, employers are in a critical position to help their employees secure their financial future,” says Lorna Sabbia, head of retirement and personal wealth solutions for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “By working in close partnership with a plan provider, employers can provide their employees financial wellness programs and benefits that are accessible and integrated.”
Fifty-nine percent of the 1,227 people enrolled in a 401(k) plan who were surveyed say they want help understanding how workplace financial benefits can aid in increasing financial security. Even more, 69 percent, say rising health care costs are hurting their retirement savings.
People have a limited understanding vehicles that could help them with costs, the study says. Fifty-three percent of employees with a Health Savings Account see it as a short-term vehicle to cover near-term health care expenses, as opposed to a long-term savings vehicle, and 55 percent usually spend their entire HSA balance within a given year.