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Survey Finds Most Employees Stressed and Distracted by Financial Worries


BOSTON, MA, March 18, 2015 -- State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), the asset management business of State Street Corporation (NYSE: STT), today released the findings of its semi-annual employee retirement survey, which targeted approximately 1,000 employees between the ages of 20 and 69. Overall, the survey found that the stressors having greatest impact to workers include student loans and mortgages, health care costs and an unsettled feeling that one has not done enough to prepare for retirement.

"We all know that financial concerns are usually top of mind for individuals and families, but the findings from this survey clearly demonstrate how much concern individuals have about finances," said Fredrik Axsater, global head of SSGA Defined Contribution. "Financial and workplace stressors have the greatest impact on work quality and productivity, which confirms what we are hearing from employers -- we need to address workplace financial demands beyond retirement savings. A more holistic approach is needed, providing tools and opportunities for employees to reduce stress and improve their financial well-being."

When it comes to the workplace, the survey found that nearly 60 percent of employees are emotionally stressed and distracted by their financial situations; 37 percent acknowledged financial stress has caused their productivity at work to suffer; 25 percent have missed work due to stress that stemmed from their personal financial situations; and nearly 50 percent are living from paycheck to paycheck.

"Eventually, employees' financial problems will affect their productivity; our survey underscores the importance of the fact that financial wellness is now part of nearly all of our conversations with employers," Axsater continued. "By providing employees with access to resources and tools that enable them to improve their financial lives and alleviate daily financial stress, plan sponsors can then refocus their employee's attention and actions towards retirement savings and security. Taking this holistic approach creates the opportunity to address roadblocks to retirement readiness while increasing engagement around financial well-being."

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • Lack of a Safety Net: More than half of the respondents were confident that they could pay for a financial emergency costing up to $1,000. However, just under half of respondents acknowledge that they live "paycheck to paycheck," which implies that a large financial setback would have a serious impact.
  • The Shifting Debt Burden: Mortgages, car loans and credit cards carry the heaviest debt burdens for the majority of respondents, however, debt patterns shift through life phases from auto/student loans to credit cards to a mortgage, and lastly loans for their children's education.
  • Only if it's Free: Most respondents cited high cost and lack of convenience as the top the reasons for not engaging in a financial wellness program.
  • Generation Xers are Eager: According to the survey, 30 to 39 year olds would be the most likely to take advantage of employer sponsored programs including automatic savings programs, budget workshops, stress management courses and one on one financial planning assistance.

TRC Market Research conducted the survey online from January 7- January 11, 2015. The median age of respondents was 45; 48 percent were male and 52 percent were female; and 90 percent of respondents were employed full time.

About State Street Global Advisors

For nearly four decades, State Street Global Advisors has been committed to helping our clients, and those who rely on them, achieve financial security. We partner with many of the world's largest, most sophisticated investors and financial intermediaries to help them reach their goals through a rigorous, research-driven investment process spanning both indexing and active disciplines. With trillions in assets, our scale and global reach offer clients unrivaled access to markets, geographies and asset classes, and allow us to deliver thoughtful insights and innovative solutions.


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