Whether you are trying to build a case for financial wellness at your organization or assessing the need for it, a new survey from GoBankingRates will help you cover the top causes of stress in your area. The statistics below focus on the aggregate results from 7,000 respondents from all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., but the link above provides specific information for each state so employers can see if their population differs from the entire group. Below are the top seven cause of financial stress based on responses from the survey.

  • Financial troubles and stressPaying off debt (cited by 20.6% of respondents)
  • Not being able to retire (15.6%)
  • Not having enough money to survive an emergency (15.6%)
  • Wanting a nicer lifestyle (14.0%)
  • Paying for education (13.1%)
  • Lack of stable income (11.7), and
  • Paying mortgage or rent (9.4%)

It is important to note that paying off debt was cited as the top source of financial stress in 32 states and was tied for first in Rhode Island (tied with lack of stable income), Maine (tied with not being able to retire), and New Hampshire (tied with not having enough money to survive an emergency). This should be a key indicator of what financial wellness programs should focus on.

Given that a 2016 PwC survey found that more than a quarter (28%) of employees said financial issues are a distraction at work (a 20% increase from PwC’s 2015 findings), employers should be proactively addressing the financial health of their employees through benefits (e.g., 401 (k) plans) and education (e.g., seminars).

Budgeting concerns should not be a reason for employers to sit idly waiting as the problem gets worse. For those employers with a 401 (k) plan, the plan administrator should have free financial wellness resources for their clients to use. There are also a number of advocacy groups and wellness vendors that offer a free financial wellness seminar/webinar.

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