Financial Wellness Pays Healthy Dividends

Happy workers appear to be healthier financially – or is it the other way around?

State Street Global Advisors’ latest research suggests that there is a noteworthy interplay between people’s happiness with their working life and their financial well-being. In fact, a new report claims to have found that financial wellness actually influences an employee’s happiness at work.

SSgA categorized workers into three different happiness “personas” (Happy, So-So, and Unhappy) based on their responses to the following questions:

  • I like my job.
  • The work I do reflects my values and mission in life.
  • I value my employer.
  • I believe my employer has an interest in how to support my career aspirations.
  • I value the health benefits my employer offers.
  • I value the retirement plan my employer offers.
  • In general, I value the overall benefits my employer offers.
  • I believe my employer has an interest in supporting my financial well-being.

‘Trust’ Falls

The findings, drawn from their January 2016 Biannual Investor Survey of Millennials and Generation X — what they call “Generation DC” — found that only about a third (32%) say they can trust their employers. However, when looking at employees in the Happy and Unhappy personas, the researchers found that 74% of respondents who give their employers the highest trust rating fall into the Happy persona, while nearly as many (70%) respondents who give their employers the lowest trust rating fall into the Unhappy persona.

Additionally, the report notes that employees who score highly on financial wellness metrics, such as reporting low levels of stress and high levels of confidence in achieving retirement goals, are disproportionally more likely to fall into the Happy persona.

Moreover, the report’s authors claim to have found that participants who feel financially well tend to attribute those feelings to their employer, “crediting them in part for their positive emotional and financial situation,” and that as feelings of financial wellness improve, participants’ feelings about their working life and their employers improve as well.

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