Not that we don’t already know it, just by the way we feel, but a new set of findings reveals financial stress is damaging Americans’ physical and emotional health.
The study "Mind, Body and Wallet" from the Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, finds that worry about personal finances is the leading cause of emotional stress and also contributes to lower physical wellness.
For the many who are dealing with financial and emotional trouble, those who are particularly vulnerable to the effects of financial stress are single working parents and Gen Xers. Among these groups, 2 out of 5 are having a tough time keeping up with expenses and trying to save for retirement.
According to the study’s well-being index, financial wellness is the most significant driver of overall well-being. It also finds that progress toward financial goals has actually fallen over the past two years.
Money, the primary source of stress for a majority of workers, who say they are struggling to manage multiple financial goals, including saving for retirement and college education, managing debt and protecting their family in the event of death, serious illness or injury.
The study findings include some scary results. A quarter of workers, for instance, have no life insurance at all, and the same is true of single working parents. Among those who do have life insurance, two-fifths believe they need more coverage, especially those who are married with children.
A third of workers overall and half of millennials have no disability insurance at all. Three-fifths of workers say they could not live off of their savings for more than six months if they became ill or injured.
Related: Top 7 causes of financial stress
A fifth of workers overall and a third of single parents have no retirement plan. Only two-fifths of workers feel they are making good progress toward their retirement goals.
Although more companies are adding initiatives to help employee well-being, such as supplemental health insurance as well as health and wellness activities, and more than half (52 percent) of working Americans say they have access to wellness programs through their employer, only 1 in 4 has participated in any of the activities offered.