Financial Stress Strains Physical Well-Being

Tuesday, May 1, 2012
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It appears there is now proof that helping employees deal with their finances can help companies cut healthcare costs and boost productivity.

A recent study from El Segundo, Calif.-based Financial Finesse lists money worries as the No. 1 source of stress among employees. It also shows significant differences in company healthcare savings between employees considered heavy users of financial education (three or more interactions with any of the financial services available within a year) and those considered light users or non-users.

The study, conducted at a Fortune 500 healthcare company that prefers to go unnamed, shows 22 percent healthcare-cost savings for heavy users, 9 percent for all users (heavy and light) and 4 percent for non-users from 2009 to 2010.

It also finds that, based on a recent poll of AOL employees, owing money takes a toll on health. Stomach ulcers, for instance, occurred in 27 percent of people with high levels of financial stress, compared to 8 percent with low levels.

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Likewise, migraine and other types of headaches occurred in 44 percent of people with high financial-stress levels versus 15 percent with low levels.

Liz Davidson, founder and CEO of Financial Finesse, says "if companies can get people to address basic money-management skills, to simply get a handle on their finances, it translates into significant personal and organizational health ... [and] translates to greater productivity and a boost to the bottom line.

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