According to the American Psychology Association, money has ranked as the number one stressor for Americans ever since they began polling in 2007.1 Even during the pandemic, financial stress topped the charts as the most stressful thing people were experiencing.2
Financial stress goes beyond simply worrying about paying bills. That stress can cause some serious physical health issues. People with high financial stress are twice as likely to report poor health and four times as likely to complain of ailments.
Here are six surprising ways financial stress can impact your employee's health and what to do about it.
1. Sleep Loss
Money worries are the biggest cause of sleep loss among American adults, with 78% reporting it as an issue.3
Sleep has long been touted as a key to maintaining optimal health.
Aside from being fatigued, lack of sleep can cause many other issues. Getting enough sleep helps to boost immunity, keep your weight healthy, and prevent diabetes, among other things.4
Headaches and migraines can come on when you suffer from high levels of financial stress. These can impact your work or family life, as migraines are often debilitating.
3. Digestive Issues
Psychological stress can lead to multiple digestive issues. One example is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Acute or chronic psychological stress has been shown to have an impact on intestinal sensitivity and other factors that contribute to the development of IBS.5
4. High Blood Pressure and Heart Problems
One of the most well-recognized physical signs of stress is high blood pressure.
People who carry a debt load, for example, have a 31% higher risk of being diagnosed with high blood pressure.6 Those with serious financial stress are thirteen times more likely to have a heart attack.7
5. Anxiety and Depression
Financial stress takes a serious toll on mental health, with high levels of debt increasing the odds of being diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder by 90%.6 These bring with them their own slew of physical symptoms including hyperventilation, sleep loss,8 headaches, and chest pain.9
6. Unhealthy Habits
Studies have shown that increased financial strain often leads to an increased risk for heavy drinking and smoking.10 These things not only cause physical issues but often increase the financial burden through poor purchase habits.
Other unhealthy habits that people develop due to money worries are overeating or recreational drug use.3
How It Impacts Your Business
The physical ailments suffered due to financial stress are enough for any individual to sit up and pay attention. But the impact on businesses is significant as well.
These symptoms and others caused by financial stress are estimated to cost businesses 20 to 29 productive days a year, or between 9% and 13% of their payrolls. All this is because of sick days, distraction at work, and troubled relationships with colleagues, among other things.11
What To Do About It
Financial stress is strongly associated with poor financial literacy.12
Companies can help their employees and themselves by providing financial wellness resources, like the Enrich Financial Wellness platform.
These programs can help improve financial literacy and decrease financial stress no matter what a person’s starting point is.
Every step taken toward financial wellness is a step away from physical ailments and medical expenses – all of which helps both your employees and your bottom line.
1 - https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2015/02/money-stress
2 - https://www.verywellmind.com/mental-health-tracker-financial-stress-5197905
3 - https://www.purdue.edu/hr/CHL/healthyboiler/news/newsletter/2020-01/finances-health.php
4 - https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/why-lack-of-sleep-is-bad-for-your-health/
5 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4202343/
6 - https://www.uab.edu/reporter/research/publications-research-findings/item/9618-study-links-debt-with-risk-of-psychiatric-disorders-high-blood-pressure-in-midlife
7 - https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320037
8 - https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/symptoms-causes/syc-20350961
9 - https://www.webmd.com/depression/physical-symptoms
10 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3211962/
12 - https://rethinking65.com/2021/05/04/financial-literacy-reduces-money-stress-finra-study-finds/