Seventy percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. USA Today cites concern about personal finances as the No. 1 cause of stress on the job. Reuters finds the average worker costs employers more than $7,000 per employee annually in lost productivity because they worry about and calculate finances while at the office.
Studies have shown that effective financial education can help. According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, just 10 hours of personal finance training can improve spending and saving habits for the average person.
“Employees’ money problems are serious workplace distractions that cause issues for business owners and human resource departments,” said Heather Davis, director of sales and marketing at Essential Knowledge, an independent financial education company. “These problems include lower productivity, wage garnishments, increased requests for paycheck advances and personal loans, employee theft, low participation in 401(k) programs, absenteeism and dissatisfaction with compensation and benefits.”
Essential Knowledge and Park University are joining forces to tackle the growing problem of employee stress and productivity losses in the U.S. workforce due to personal finance. They are collaborating to introduce a unique solution to these issues facing businesses and their employees.
FI 201C-Personal Financial Management is a new online program that teaches students about paying off debt, how to improve credit scores, budgeting and spending habits, insurance, taxes, the psychology of money, investing and retirement planning. Participating employees are provided with free e-books, budgeting tools, financial calculators and investing worksheets for ongoing use. Additionally, students have access to financial counselors to answer questions throughout the course.
“We are very excited to have partnered with Essential Knowledge to offer this personal finance course as a way for employers to help their employees,” said Dr. Thomas Peterman, vice president for distance learning at Park University. “It’s a unique way for these students to earn college credit and work on personal development while they learn about money management.”
The benefits of financial literacy are not only being considered by employers. Many employees also are making money management a priority. A study released earlier this month by Countrywide Bank showed that 67 percent of adults ranked financial fitness higher than physical fitness as a New Year’s resolution for 2008.