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  • Writer's pictureTFWG Publications

Surprising factors that contribute to financial stress

Updated: Aug 26, 2019

When it comes to factors that contribute to financial stress, the usual culprits come to mind; lack of money, rising cost of living or a growing family. However, interesting data has emerged from AMP’s white paper on ‘Financial Wellness in the Australian Workplace’ that surveyed over 2000 Australian employees on the topic of financial stress.

Does the frequency of pay cycles, for example, have an impact on an employee’s wellbeing? Does job share lead to anxiety and financial stress? AMP’s report uncovered some surprising data.

According to AMP & The Behavioural Architect’s 2018 survey, weekly pay cycles are associated with a greater level of financial stress. Why? “Because they increase the ‘mental availability’ of finances and can act as a constant reminder of the state of an employee’s finances.”

When people have scarce finances, such as immediately before pay day, they are less likely to prepare financially for the long term. In contrast, “monthly pay cycles are associated with the highest levels of wellbeing, but fortnightly cycles have the benefit of allowing people to make more frequent payments on debt (such as home loans) and pay less interest in the long run.”

Contract length and job role also contribute to an individual’s sense of financial wellbeing. According to AMP, “staff who job share, work outside their contracted hours, hot desk and are on short-term contracts have identified as experiencing higher levels of financial stress than their peers.” So consistency and boundaries are key, with working overtime or checking emails outside working hours being a major contributor to work related stress holistically.

Data from The Behavioural Architects suggest that 56% of Australia’s workforce fit within the ‘severely to mildly’ financially stressed category. The surveyed Australians who identified with being financially stressed said that, on average, they feel this way for approximately 6.4 years at a time. “Financially stressed employees are less engaged at work and are more likely to underperform and take additional time off. This has a financial impact for Australian businesses to the tune of $31.1 billion annually.”

With such a considerable impact on both employers and employees, we believe it’s time to make financial stress, history.

Quotes from ‘Financial Wellness in the Australian Workplace’ White paper by AMP & The Behavioural Architects July 2018

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