Financial fears feed into workplace worries

Almost half of Australians say they are worried about their finances and a third say it is a major source of stress for them, according to survey by NGS Super.

Some 48% were worried about their finances, 39% said they spent more than two hours during the working week worrying about finances and 39% said they lived beyond their means.

Those suffering financial stress were almost four times more likely to feel anxious and five times more likely to be depressed than those were unaffected by financial stress.

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The report found Australia’s financial wellbeing score, which covered areas like ability to meet expenses and feeling of financial security, was 59 out of 100. Divided between genders, men had an average score of 61 while women had an average score of 57.

A key consideration in this was factors such as debt, mental health, gambling and divorce with half saying they were stressed by their household debt.

“Several studies and private research reports indicate that Australians are vastly underinsured and uninsured, and overindebted. Despite having disposable income, few divert it into sound savings or investment. Simply put, as a nation, we’re ill equipped to make smart financial decisions. This lack of financial capability can negatively impact our financial wellbeing,” the report said.

This financial stress then fed through to the workplace with factors such as stress, absenteeism, disengagement and low morale becoming problems among staff. Absenteeism was estimated to cost businesses at least $33 billion annually.

“If a worker is worried about money, there are obvious impacts on work performance, which flows through to lost productivity. Put simply, workers’ private financial problems impact their performance at work and can impact on the mood and culture of the entire workplace,” the report said.

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