The fact that stress causes disease was established back in the 1960s with the publication of Dr. Hans Selye’s landmark book “Stress.” Since that time, stress has been proven to cause not only ulcers and other gastrointestinal issues, skin problems, back problems, pancreatitis, migraine headaches, colds, flu, mental illness, herpes outbreaks and more. Stress comes in many forms, including physical and emotional.
A high percentage of people suffer from financial stress
According to the Financial Health Institute, three quarters of United States citizens report finances are the main cause of their stress. (We suspect that the situation is the same in other countries as well.) That lack of financial fitness can have a direct impact on physical health.
Causes of financial stress
Financial stress can come from the amount of savings you have, or wished you had, college tuition costs, healthcare costs, debt, especially student loans for millennials, and credit card debt for Gen Xers, and/or how much you’re putting away for retirement.
Financial stress can lead to health issues and a vicious cycle
Those stresses can easily lead to negative side effects such as depression, anxiety, migraines, high blood pressure, stomach ulcers and heart disease. It also can stimulate unhealthy coping behaviors like drinking, smoking and overeating. These coping mechanisms, in turn, can lead to more stress.
Health and money problems cost employers a fortune
Since we spend a large portion of our time in the workplace, these health and money concerns can have a profound impact on our productivity and ability to focus. As employees seek ways to resolve their issues, the strain frequently contributes to higher absenteeism, employee turnover, lower engagement and productivity. In addition, financially stressed workers are either not using or are misusing existing financial wellness offerings, such as 401k plans.
Financial wellness programs
Financial wellness programs are defined as those that assess and support an employee’s complete financial picture or look at the overall financial health of an individual. In the past, employers could either hire a personal financial planner or coach to help. Enter Best Money Moves (BMM). With a low cost per employee, Best Money Moves is a gamified platform that sits on a company’s intranet to measure employees’ financial stress and then provide employees with support, on demand. What makes this program unique is that, when needed, employees also will have access to non-profit credit counselors (money coaches) who will ensure the program works for the employee. (For more information on BMM, visit their website at BestMoneyMoves.com.)
What the future holds
Our forecast is that gamified platforms like BMM will not only help millions of struggling employees who will respond with loyalty to their employers that cared enough to provide this valuable service, but the platform also will enjoy tremendous success.