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Gender Gap In Employee Financial Wellness Goes Far Beyond The Paycheck, According To New Origin Research

Female employees less likely to invest to build wealth and be financially confident, finds Origin’s 2021 State of Financial Health and Wealth Report
Employers that provide access to financial advisory benefits can differentiate in a hot talent market and do their part to mitigate the gender wealth gap, retirement crisis and overall financial stress within their teams

It’s already been widely reported that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted women’s employment more than men, and new research shows that their overall financial well-being is also lagging behind. Origin, the employee financial wellness platform, today released its inaugural State of Financial Health and Wealth Report, a survey of 1,000 full-time U.S. employees, diving deep into the financial behaviors and stressors of employees today.  Among other insights on financial burdens of employees detailed in the report, Origin’s survey found men are nearly 2x more likely to be confident or very confident in their financial health than women (62% of male respondents versus 38% of female respondents).

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The survey also found women are 10% more likely than men to say their financial health is the same or worse than last year. The survey found women were less likely to put income away to build wealth, indicating that gender gaps in financial wellness go far beyond the paycheck. Women were less likely to put disposable income in savings accounts, retirement accounts, cryptocurrency, or brokerage/investment accounts, and women were less likely to have ever consulted a financial planner.

“Origin believes every person deserves financial literacy and well-being, regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation, and this data reinforces that expanding access to financial advice can directly improve financial confidence and help shrink these wealth gaps,” said Matt Watson, CEO and co-founder, Origin. “By offering financial planning services as part of their benefits package, employers have a unique opportunity to not only differentiate themselves from other companies in a hot talent market, but to also do their part to mitigate the gender wealth gap, retirement crisis and overall financial stress within their teams, playing a vital role in reshaping the financial future for Americans.”

Are Gen X and Boomers ready for retirement?

Origin also found that employees inching toward retirement are also facing financial hurdles. Those over 45 were less likely to be financially confident than employees aged 22-45. Only 37% of respondents over 45 said they were confident or very confident in their financial health, versus over half of those aged 22-45. Despite being close to retirement, two-thirds of those over 45 had either never consulted a financial planner or only had once or twice ever in their lives.

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“The company-sponsored 401k has become standard in employee benefits, but it’s clear that offering these plans aren’t sufficient in helping employees save enough and feel secure in retirement,” said Watson. “Companies seeking to assist employees with retirement planning should set up their employees for success earlier in life with financial wellness education, resources and advice so they can weather any storms for the long term and feel prepared to retire comfortably.”

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Where do employees get financial advice?

Overall, a majority of employees don’t know where to turn for financial advice. More than 67% of respondents agree or strongly agree that they want to make more informed investments with their money but don’t know how, and another 18% at least somewhat agree. Most popular sources for advice are search engines like Google, Bing, etc. (44%); news sources like TV, magazines or blogs (42%); or social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or TikTok (36%), which are not always trustworthy sources or transparent about conflicts of interest or paid sponsorships.

Nearly 93% of employees somewhat agree to strongly agree that they want their employers to offer increased access to financial planning and advisory services, but only 28% of employers are currently providing it. In the midst of the “Great Reshuffle,” employers are looking for the most enticing compensation and benefits to attract and retain talent, and financial health benefits can win the battle for talent in the modern workplace.

PREDICTIONS-SERIES-2022

“Employees have hit their breaking point when it comes to financial stress, and they’re looking to their employers for support,” said David Blaylock, CFPⓇ, lead financial planner at Origin. “So now is the time for companies to decide: are we going to support our workforce in a meaningful way? Or are we going to turn a blind eye to their situations?”

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[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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