10 reasons not to retire. No, really

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A reader recently wrote and asked me if I ever considered retirement is overrated? You are not alone in thinking this way, and the popular idea of retirement as a time to relax and enjoy your golden years doesn’t match reality for many people. Many retirees are bored, anxious, or just plain broke. And that’s not what they expected at all!

After all, the website espouses Financial Freedom. We have talked about folks yearning to take a break from working and questioning when can I retire?

You might be thinking that retirement sounds excellent – but what if you can’t afford it? What if an unforeseen catastrophe occurs and you need money? The reality is that so many people are retiring later in life because they don’t have enough saved up or can’t afford to take the risk of quitting their job before they know how much money they’ll need each month.

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Retirees also face many challenges, from loneliness to boredom, but there are ways to combat these problems with the right lifestyle changes. We will discuss why retirement isn’t always as glamorous as it seems and how to avoid these pitfalls by pursuing your goals now!

Why Is Retirement Overrated?

Sacrificing living today for an uncertain tomorrow

Some people obsessed with retirement live their lives around a future day, putting off living in the present till then. We don’t know what the future holds for our health, economy, or relationships.

In our article on avoiding the challenge of deprivation, we talked about several real-life examples of estranged couples due to the relentless focus on retirement savings.

Action Steps: As with everything in life, moderation is the key. Examine your current spending. I use Personal Capital, a free tool, which automatically creates a budget for me based on my everyday spending. I can then review and eliminate items that don’t bring me joy. You can read my Personal Capital review for ideas on how to use it.

If there are activities which you or your family enjoy, then go for them! Also, have a conversation with your family and develop your budget jointly. Financial Freedom is a marathon, not a sprint. And it is better to make sure we bring along others on this journey.

There is no guarantee you’ll have enough saved up

Retirement doesn’t come around every year; it’s something we look forward to once we’ve reached a certain age and retired from our full-time jobs. However, many people underestimate the amount of money they will need during this time in their lives. It can be hard to save up for retirement when you don’t know how much money you’ll need or the costs. Yes, there are several free retirement accounts like 401(k), Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, HSA, Self-directed IRA, etc. But unless you can save every month, the tax benefits don’t matter. Often we need to improve our human capital so that your income is much larger than your expenses, and you can invest the difference in stocks or real estate.

Action Steps: We have talked about how to retire early and provided guidance for individuals at every age. However, despite our best efforts, things might not go as per plans. Luck plays a huge factor in many areas of our lives, including picking the best assets to buy.

Many retirees spend more money than working after paying for their medical care and health insurance costs—and keeping up with hobbies that cost money like golfing and boating.

It is perfectly fine if you cannot afford to retire. Don’t wait until retirement to pursue your goals and dreams – start living them now! Your future self will thank you for not allowing an opportunity to slip past while waiting for something that may never happen.

You might not be as healthy as you think

It’s easy to assume that we’ll stay young and healthy forever – but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Even if your retirement is decades away, it could still come sooner than expected if something tragic happens to your health. It is even more critical for people who plan on retiring later in life to pursue their goals now, especially if they’re working in a career that can be dangerous or harmful to their health.

Action Steps: Make the most of every day and don’t take for granted what you have – because, at any time, something unexpected could happen which will change everything. Don’t wait until retirement is right around the corner to make the most of your life. Get out there and experience what this world has to offer before it’s too late!

You never know when an emergency will happen

Emergencies can happen at any time, making it nearly impossible to predict when they’ll arise. There’s no way of knowing how much money you’ll need in an emergency until one happens (and by then, it might be too late).

Action Steps: Start saving up for an emergency fund now! It will help give your future self-peace of mind. Keep your emergency funds safe in risk-free I-Bonds or high-interest rate online banks which are FDIC insured.

You are afraid of health complications due to not working

While working can often be stressful and cause health complications, one must also be mindful of the effects of retirement. On two levels, a regular retirement might be harmful: physically and emotionally.

Retirement frequently entails a loss of activity on a physical level. You no longer have a compelling reason to get out of bed or engage in physical activity. Even the simple act of running from one conference to the next or walking couple of blocks at work for lunch could prove beneficial compared to sitting on a couch all day in retirement.

Retirement, on an emotional level, frequently results in withdrawal and isolation. The danger of becoming lonely and depressed may be a problem for many people, especially if no relatives are nearby or do not have a robust social support system.

Action Steps: Find a sport that you can engage with your friends, go for walks in your neighborhood, or join a fitness center to keep you active.

Start getting involved in your local neighborhood associations. Pursue hobbies that keep your mind sharp. If there was a skill you wanted to learn, go ahead and pursue it. Online courses are available on a variety of subjects at Udemy or LinkedIn Learning. Volunteering or working allows us to stay active, keep our minds occupied, make new friends, and feel a part of society.

Being in an office helps you maintain friendships

If most of your friends are from work, then retirement can seem scary. People who work in an office environment often find themselves surrounded by friends and co-workers every day. It makes it easier to maintain friendships, as you’ll see these people more than those outside of your working life (who may live further away).

Action Steps: There could be several non-profits and charitable organizations that could benefit from your skills. Large charitable organizations are often run like corporations. So they would have a role for everyone, no matter how niche your professional skills are.

You are a Type-A personality

Most people who are Type-A personalities are unhappy in retirement. It’s boring, isolating, and depressing. They love being in charge and have a sense of purpose at work. Work becomes their identity. People who retire early often end up back at work within a few years of quitting because they get sick of being bored all day, or they miss the social aspect of working with other people each day.

 

Action Steps: You can either try and change your personality or find a way to embrace retirement life. The first option is difficult, but not impossible. If you cannot overcome this obstacle, you might accept that you will always be unhappy in retirement until your personality changes.

You want to build a legacy

Early retirement often means we stop working when we have our maximum income-generation potential. If you are working at a job based on your experience, you earn the most in your 50s and 60s. Deciding on retirement entails now living off your nest egg and depleting it during retirement. Instead, you can extend your working years by delaying retirement.

Action Steps: If you have several dependents and want to build generational wealth, it might be better to continue working. Due to the power of compounding, your investment will keep growing, and your legacy wealth can support the next generation. Your tax planning strategies can ensure that your investments grow tax-free.

You can work part-time

People who retire early from their careers often find themselves struggling to fill the gap in their days left by retiring sooner than expected. Even if you don’t want full-time employment, there are plenty of ways to stay active and involved with your community without working long hours at a job that could be harmful or dangerous to your health.

Action Steps: Don’t let retirement scare you into thinking that the only options available are full-time careers! You can still stay active and involved with others without working long days – there are plenty of ways to be just as happy in retirement by pursuing part-time jobs or hobbies on a more casual basis.

 

In fact, as per the Back to Work: Expectations and Realizations of Work after Retirement paper nearly 50 percent of retirees follow a nontraditional retirement path that involves partial retirement or “unretirement,” and at least 26 percent of retirees later unretire.

Doing nothing all day gets old fast

Retirement can be challenging because it leaves us with a lot of time on our hands. While the initial thought is that we’ll have so much free time to do whatever we want, this isn’t always how things turn out in reality – and doing nothing all day gets boring fast. You don’t need to be retired to realize that you’ll eventually get bored after a certain amount of time, and therefore it’s essential to pursue your dreams even if retirement isn’t right around the corner.

 

Action Steps: Make a plan for how you want to spend your time in retirement before you actually retire. Ideally, the decision to retire should be based on the activities you want to run towards as opposed to running away from work.

What Is The Healthiest Age To Retire?

Retirement is an important and personal decision. Retirement may be seen as a significant burden for many individuals. But for others, it’s the perfect time to slow down and enjoy their lives without having to work long hours at jobs that they don’t love or find fulfilling in any way. There isn’t one age that everyone should consider retiring at – it’s all up to you and your life. Don’t worry about other people pressuring you into quitting early or at a certain age – focus on finding happiness in the way that works for YOU! The average retirement age is 60 years old and full retirement age as per Social Security Administration is 67.

How Much Does The Average Person Need To Retire?

The amount of money that you’ll need to retire can vary widely depending on your living expenses, income needs, location, and so much more. The general rule is that you should have enough savings for about 25 times the amount of your annual expenses, also known as the 4% retirement rule – but this isn’t always possible or realistic. Don’t worry too much if retirement seems like a distant dream right now – start saving what you can, and don’t feel guilty if it takes a bit longer than expected. As long as you’re doing your best to save money for the future, there’s no need to stress!

What Is A Good Average Retirement Income?

The average retirement income in the U.S. is around $38,000 per year – but this amount can vary widely depending on your pension, where you live, and your expenses (including medical costs). While you might not have saved enough money to support all your annual living expenses, most retirees can cover at least half of their expenses while living off Social Security.

Does Retirement Shorten Your Life?

Retirement doesn’t necessarily shorten your life – but it can impact how long you live depending on your retirement lifestyle. Retirement could lead to more stress, leading to a shorter lifespan or poorer health in general if you do not take engage in regular mental and physical activities post-retirement. While this is certainly not something anyone wants for their lives, the good news is that retirees who can stay busy and active live longer than if working.

What Is The Average Income Of A Retired Person?

The average income of a retired person in the United States is $30,479 per year – and this number can vary depending on where you live. Even if your salary isn’t above average when working full-time, there are plenty of ways to increase it through retirement! You don’t need to work long hours at jobs that leave you feeling drained and exhausted when retirement is just around the corner. The median retirement income by age in the U.S. is is $22,000 for ages 55-64.

Should You Retire?

Retirement is a big decision – but there are some signs that you might be ready to retire. If retiring would allow you the opportunity to pursue hobbies and interests without getting permission from your boss, then it’s probably time for early retirement! Not retiring is also a sign that you might not be ready to retire yet – so don’t worry too much if it seems like the perfect time.

 

If you’re worried about retirement, don’t be! There are steps you can take to make sure that you have money set aside for retirement, and there’s no need to feel guilty if it takes a little longer than expected. Retirement is an important personal decision – focus on finding happiness in the best way for YOU!

Final Thoughts On If Retirement Is Overrated

Retirement should be viewed as a good thing, something to look forward to, instead of being weary about it. With financial freedom comes options and choices. While you’re working your way up the corporate ladder, take time out to plan for what will come after that.

Everyone’s situation is different, and financial well-being is just as important. Retirement is not overrated if you’re part of the group of people that knows what you plan to do after retirement and have made plans to be financially secure.

On the other hand, if you are a type-A personality who enjoys working, has a dream job, wants to build legacy wealth, or appreciates the company of co-workers, then maybe don’t stress about retirement. Whether or not you agree with the perspective on retirement, hopefully, it inspires you to take steps. If you want to live a fulfilling life, there’s no time like the present to start living your dream.

 

This article originally appeared on FinancialFreedomCountdown.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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50 things you probably don’t know about Americans’ finances

 

Americans were already struggling with their personal finances, and then COVID-19 hit.

 

According to the Pew Research Center, 44% think it will take three or more years to recoup their losses for those financially impacted by the pandemic. In comparison, 10% believe their personal finances will never recover.

 

There’s a good chance that you might be facing some difficult financial situations yourself. If not, you most likely know someone struggling to pay their bills, save money or reach retirement.

 

Whether you’re trying to improve your own financial situation or your loved one’s, we’ve compiled insightful personal finance facts from several sources like Forbes, USA Today, and Savology’s recent report, The State of Personal Finances.

 

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Let’s start by reviewing some basics around personal finance planning, its benefits and common practices.

 

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Financial planning exists to help people improve their personal finances. In fact, Savology found that households with financial plans are 2.5 times more likely to save enough for retirement compared to those without any plan in place.

 

 

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Having a financial plan makes individuals feel 83% better about their financial decisions and their overall financial situation after just one year.

 

 

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Research from Charles Schwab, among other sources, indicates that somewhere around 72% of households do not have a written financial plan.

 

 

According to Nefe, an outstanding 76% of millennials lack even the most basic financial literacy to make informed decisions about their money.

 

 

Unlike doctors and lawyers who are required to earn advanced degrees, among other rigorous requirements, financial advisors and coaches in the U.S. are not uniformly required to complete higher education coursework. Many financial professionals choose to earn one or more financial certifications to distinguish themselves.

 

Americans are known as being some of the worst savers in the world. Let’s a look at some stats that illustrate the savings rate in the United States.

 

 

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Americans, on average, are savings 13.8% of their monthly income.  However, while that may sound like a reasonable number, it doesn’t tell us how much they need to be saving to reach their financial goals and reach retirement.

 

 

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Regardless of the current savings rate, households are still falling short on saving enough to reach their goals. While most reports and findings publish this number, it actually isn’t the most important one to pay attention to.

 

 

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This finding published by CNBC is quite alarming. As we’ve seen in recent months, and for the better part of 2020, having no liquid savings can be extremely detrimental to your financial future and living conditions.

 

 

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A significant portion of Millennials continues to push back saving for retirement. While many think time is still on their side, many millennials turned 40 this past year.

 

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In fact, according to the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS), of the millennials that are actually saving money, 95% of them are saving less than the recommended amount.

 

 

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When it comes to various accounts, most Americans seem well poised with how they’re structuring their accounts. Here’s what we know, thanks to Savology’s recent The State of Personal Finances Report.

 

 

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When 2/3 of America’s largest generation (Millenials) have no retirement savings, a high number like this is actually a pleasant surprise.

 

 

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While many Americans have a checking account, some people don’t open one because they can’t meet the banks’ minimum balance requirements.

 

 

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Considering that 1/3 of Americans have no savings, fewer people have a savings account than a checking account. Perhaps not a surprise, but Americans aged 65-74 have the most money in a savings account.

 

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Despite the ability to use an HSA account as a long-term vehicle for healthcare-related savings, most Americans are spending all of the money they are putting aside in these types of accounts for yearly healthcare expenses.

 

 

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Considering the number of adults with personal finance struggles, it’s not a surprise that only a small number of Americans are saving for their kid’s college in a 529 account.

 

 

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If there’s anything the pandemic and recession has taught us, it’s that having an emergency fund isn’t a nice-to-have financial tool. It’s a must.

 

Emergency savings help us protect our lifestyles from unexpected expenses and financial emergencies, such as losing employment. Here’s what we know about emergency savings.

 

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Most American households have recognized the importance of having emergency savings to draw from when needed.

 

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While it’s great to see that many households have what they call a dedicated emergency fund, according to the Associated Press, it isn’t enough as 69% of households have less than $1,000 in their emergency savings.

 

 

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According to CNBC, more than 14% of households have wiped their emergency savings because of financial emergencies due to the pandemic.

 

 

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When done right, debt can be a useful financial tool to gain leverage, make smart financial moves, and build credit. However, the reality is that far too often, debt gets in the way of financial goals and becomes detrimental to retirement and other goals.

 

Here’s what we know about debt and liabilities across the United States.

 

 

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There are nearly 100 million Americans that collectively owe $1.3 trillion on existing automotive loans. When you consider the other types of loans and credit accounts that everyday consumers have access to, it starts to paint a clear picture of how severe the debt problem is.

 

 

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According to Forbes, nearly 45 million Americans are burdened with outstanding student debts.

 

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The average household has more than $50,000 in current student loan debts, giving context to millenials and other younger generations’ low savings rate.

 

 

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According to The Wall Street Journal, getting a post-secondary education leaves households in a very vulnerable situation where almost half of the households with active student debt cannot make their payments.

 

 

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According to USA Today, 38% of households have revolving credit debt that they are carrying monthly.

 

 

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The average amount of credit card balance that households carry monthly is around $10.3K, meaning that most are stuck paying large amounts of interest, interfering with other savings goals.

 

 

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People don’t necessarily see insurance as part of overall personal finance, but the lack of insurance coverage has potentially large financial consequences.

 

Here’s what we know about insurance across the United States.

 

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One of the many factors driving underinsurance is life insurance coverage. As many as 9 million people only have group life insurance with a coverage gap of $225,000.

 

 

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For those who don’t have health insurance, the main reason is cost. Interestingly, women are more likely than men to lack health insurance.

 

 

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Despite affordable options out there, many people think they can’t afford life insurance coverage.

 

 

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While more people with dependents have life insurance, it’s only a small increase.

 

 

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Alaska has the highest average life insurance gap at a $310,000 difference, and Louisana has the lowest gap, but it’s still a difference of $118,000 in coverage.

 

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Millennials are considered the most underinsured generation in America. Despite nearing middle age, planning is still a driving factor when many are saddled with student loan debt.

 

 

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Estate planning is one of the most neglected areas of personal finance. While it’s hard to think about death, having your affairs in order is a gift you give to your family.

 

Here’s what we know about the state of estate planning across the United States.

 

 

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1. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes.

2. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

 

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While it’s a good start, it’s still alarming that only 4 out 10 older Americans have a will, advance healthcare directive, healthcare power of attorney and financial power of attorney documents in place.

 

 

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Two-thirds of Americans are concerned about their families’ long-term financial well-being. While Americans know the value of having these plans in place, it isn’t translating to finalizing estate plan documents.

 

 

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Considering that 71% of Americans say that having a well-established estate plan would help them feel like a good spouse or parent, many aren’t completing the legal paperwork needed.

 

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When asked why people don’t have a will, the most common answers are that they haven’t gotten around to it, believe they don’t have enough assets to be relevant, or it’s too difficult to find a professional to create the necessary plans.

 

 

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Retirement planning is often synonymous with financial planning. It’s typically the major area of a financial plan that most Americans focus on. The reality is that all of the other financial plan areas influence what our retirement often looks like.

 

Here’s what retirement looks like across the United States.

 

 

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The average desired retirement age for Americans is 62, yet many have to spend many more years working to retire.

 

 

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Retirement income replacement is essentially the amount of income you’ll need in retirement to sustain a living as a percentage of your current income. An income replacement of 80% means that the average American wants to retire with about the same lifestyle as they currently have.

 

 

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Based on current financial situations, the average realistic retirement age is 72.6, ten years later than the average desired retirement age of 62.

 

 

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If people made personal finance adjustments, the average realistic retirement age would be 64.7, which is only three years later than the desired retirement age of 62.

 

 

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On average, only 28% of households are on track to reach their retirement goals. This means that most households will have to work long past the desired age they’d like to retire.

 

 

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The average number of retirement years that Americans will not have enough savings to cover their living costs. It’s scary to think that it’s a difference of time of a complete decade.

 

 

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Financial planning in the workplace is a big topic these days. As an employer, investing in your employees’ financial wellness benefits is one perk to draw your business’s best employees.

 

 

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On average, employers lose $1,900 per employee annually due to financial stress and total an estimated annual loss of $1 million for mid-sized employers and $19 million for large employers.

 

 

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It’s also important to note that the recent COVID-19 pandemic has had a serious impact on American’s financial stress levels. Surveys show that 62% of workers feel financially stressed, an increase of 23% since the pandemic began.

 

 

Building loyalty in the workplace isn’t easy to achieve. It usually comes down to providing the right resources, tools, and benefits for employees. 59% of workers say that financial wellness benefits improve loyalty and the likelihood of recommending their employer.

 

 

In the past year, the COVID pandemic has challenged many American’s mental health while increasing their concern for their current financial situation. In fact, having financial difficulties is top of mind for 64% of individuals in America.

 

 

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On average, financially stressed employees miss 3.5 more workdays each year than their colleagues who are comfortable with their financial well-being.

 

 

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In fact, 58% of employees experience financial stress that impacts their work. Meaning that employees who face financial stress are often less productive and struggle with focusing on their day-to-day work activities.

 

 

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90% of employees actually want some form of employer-provided financial wellness benefits from their employer. Ask your HR department what your current company offers.

 

 

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More than 50% of employees are living paycheck-to-paycheck. Financial wellness and planning can make a big impact to help individuals better prioritize their finances, improve their lives and their productivity on the job.

 

 

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In fact, 63% of employees are unable to handle an unexpected expense of $500.

 

 

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In a study about financial wellness in the workplace, 75% of respondents admitted to being more likely to consider a job that offered free financial advice as part of a benefits package.

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