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Financial wellness benefits pay off — for everyone

Financial wellness probably isn’t what you think it is. For starters, it’s not about how much money you have, nor is it about how “good” you are with money. In fact, it’s not really about money at all. But if you understand it at its root, you’ll see how you are positioned to help your clients’ employees achieve it.

What is financial wellness?

Financial wellness is about a person’s relationship with money, according to the National Financial Educators Council.1 Just as the concept of wellness is as much about mental and emotional health as it is about physical resilience, achieving financial wellness means removing stress around money and adding a sense of security to your financial life.

That sense of security doesn’t necessarily come from earning more money: Nearly 40% of people earning more than $100,000 annually live paycheck to paycheck,2 which can increase stress about finances. And more than two-thirds of Americans are experiencing financial anxiety.3 The root causes of financial stress vary—inflation, lack of budgeting skills and general mental health can all contribute.

One overarching factor can trigger financial anxiety in anyone without deep reserves to draw from: unexpected expenses. Only 13% of Americans say they are “very comfortable” with their emergency savings.4 In other words, 87% of us are living with the chronic tension of “what if?”

Why financial stress matters to your clients

Whether or not employees recognize the toll financial stress is taking on their health, their minds and bodies are paying that price every day. Financially stressed employees are 11 times more likely to have sleepless nights and seven times more likely to suffer from depression.5 In turn, that stress can encourage unhealthy habits, which can exacerbate health issues that cost money to manage.6 Given this self-fueling cycle of financial stress and poor physical health, it’s no wonder that financial health is a better predictor of physical and mental health than income.7

Employees might not think to ask about financial wellness benefits when they’re being hired, but the numbers show they want it: 66% of employees say employers have a responsibility to support employees’ financial wellness.8

And your clients would do well to include financial wellness options in their benefits packages, even if nobody asks for it forthrightly, for one simple reason: Financially stressed employees aren’t functioning at their best, which means your clients’ workplaces aren’t functioning at their best, either. Productivity, employee retention, attendance, engagement—these all go down with financial stress.9 Employees spend a quarter of their workweek dealing with financial issues,10 and 32% spend at least 30 minutes of every workday thinking about their finances11—which means they’re not thinking about your clients’ needs.

Without building in financial wellness support, your clients risk becoming a part of the $4.7 billion toll that financial stress takes on American businesses. That’s not $4.7 billion annually, either—that cost is weekly.12

How Aflac can help ease the toll of financial stress

If chronic anxiety about the unexpected—accidents, illnesses, debilitating injuries—is contributing to this massive economic loss, your clients should know there’s a way to support their employees through this constant worry.

Aflac was built to help cover the costs that traditional health insurance doesn’t cover—unexpected and expected alike. Our foundation is helping to keep people healthy and protected against the curve balls that life throws at us, such as medical bills. (One in 6 Americans has an unpaid medical bill on their credit report.13) Whether it’s helping protect income during periods when employees are unable to work, helping people shoulder the costs of hospitalization, or giving people incentives to seek preventive care, we have solutions to help protect your clients’ people. Those solutions include:

Accident insurance coverage: Of those Americans making financial changes due to the cost of health care, 86% see the cost of unexpected medical emergencies as a significant risk.14 We pay cash benefits to insureds to help provide peace of mind at all stages of accident recovery.

Disability insurance coverage: Aflac helps people who suffer a covered disabling event focus on recuperation so they can get back to work without worrying about missed paychecks. Particularly when coupled with accident insurance, disability coverage can make for a risk management strategy that supports both employer and employee.

Critical illness insurance and hospital indemnity insurance: Through these two forms of coverage, Aflac helps people with some of the expenses from a covered serious disease or hospitalization. This addresses a major source of financial stress: Of the 100 million adults in the United States who have health care debt, about a third of them owe for a hospitalization.15

Life insurance: Our suite of options helps protect families against financial hardship in case the worst happens.

Value-added services: We don’t stop at insurance, either. Through our partnerships, Aflac is able to offer several value-added services to help employees cope with financial and other stress. Our value-added service through our partnership with BrightDime offers services that provide employees with financial goal-setting tools, money organization resources and more.

Aflac can’t erase all the stressors in the lives of your clients or their employees. But we can start at one source of financial stress—and partner with you to help people find a path to financial wellness.

Ready to help your clients enable financial wellness? Contact your Aflac benefits representative.