Retirement: The ultimate stress test

Ever notice when it comes to stress, we feel it more than we think about it? By the time we do think about our stress, its effects can already be influencing our mood, our behavior and our decisions.

Our research shows that financial stress is pervasive among employees. At Financial Finesse we provide financial education as an employer-sponsored benefit to companies nationwide. We track the data from incoming calls into our financial helpline and from our online Financial Learning Center. When users of our online Financial Learning Center were asked about their level of stress regarding finances:

o 97 percent of employees indicated feeling at least some financial stress.
o 31 percent were at a level of high or overwhelming financial stress.

Grim numbers, especially since we hear about all of the nasty things stress can do to us.

When stress shows up in our retirement planning decisions, the actions we take can have some negative consequences. Even the names for some of these actions, like hardship withdrawal or flight to safety, sound stressful. A good financial planner or benefits specialist will not be a substitute for a counselor for certain levels of emotional stress, but can certainly go a long way in lightening the financial load, and even helping investors make better long term decisions for themselves.

One thing all advisors need to contemplate in this economy: Should employees be presumed stressed until proven stress-less? If this is the case, is there a hidden opportunity in these difficult times for advisors who are able to reduce employees' stress? How can you take advantage of this opportunity to grow your business at a time when other advisors are struggling to stay afloat?

In the coming weeks, we'll be sharing research to answer the above questions. Stay tuned.

For more information on Financial Finesse, visit www.financialfinesse.com.

About the Author
Liz Davidson

Liz Davidson

Liz Davidson is the CEO and Founder of Financial Finesse, the leading provider of unbiased financial education programs to large companies and municipalities in the US. All of Financial Finesse’s services are provided as an added employee benefit, delivered by on-staff Certified Financial Planners. To learn more about workplace financial education programs, contact them at AskFF@financialfinesse.com or visit www.financialfinesse.com

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