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Financial ‘wellness programs’ solution to Aussie literacy problem

In order to increase financial literacy and reduce the $33 billion cost of poor financial wellness to Australian businesses, employers must implement ‘financial wellness programs’, a national study has suggested.

The study conducted by Workplace Super Specialists Australia (WSSA) in partnership with CoreData surveyed 1,400 employees in Australia across both white and blue collar industries including mining and gas, travel, IT, recruitment, aviation, medical, manufacturing, advertising and telecommunications.

According to the survey, 96 per cent of Australian employees are financially overwhelmed and do not feel financially secure for the future. 91 per cent of respondents indicated their finances are out of control.

Lack of financial wellness is the cause of stress in 63 per cent of Australian employees, disengagement in 43.3 per cent and low morale in 30 per cent. Loss in productivity and business profitability were also results of poor financial wellness of employees, the study found.

“These large numbers of noticeably stressed, unhappy, and disengaged employees highlight the need for education and financial planning for more Australians in the workplace,” the report said.

“These signs should be seen as a cry for help, as many employers are noticing non-trivial repercussions from poor financial wellness."

While 62 per cent of employers see programs to improve the financial literacy of their employees as very valuable or extremely valuable, just 15.2 per cent of Australian businesses have implemented such a program.


Of these businesses, three in five saw an increase in the overall financial wellness of their employees over the last six months, the research found.

WSSA president Terry Rhodes said, "Financial wellness programs have a clear benefit for employees and employers alike, and if we play that out even further, a national benefit."

The research found that 56.6 per cent of financially well respondents had a financial planner.

“Advisers could significantly help workplaces improve the financial wellness of their employees. There is a high correlation between an individual’s financial wellness and their use of financial advisers. More than half of the [financially well respondents] have a dedicated financial adviser, yet just one per cent of the financially unwell have a financial adviser," Mr Rhodes said.