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The Difference Between Financial Wellness and Financial Empowerment

financial wellness blog

Workers are quitting their jobs at record rates. In an ever-changing world of attracting and retaining top talent, the war for talent is heating up. During this “Great Resignation,” or as coined by Indeed the “Great Realization,” people are quitting their jobs for something better. Not always a bigger paycheck, but better working conditions, culture, and benefits.

A major factor in the war for talent is employees seeking happiness in their work. Much of that happiness can come from eliminating financial stress. Financial stress impacts at least half of US workers, and the problem costs businesses billions each year. Businesses have the ability to help alleviate financial stress by providing its workers with a financial wellness benefit.

Financial stress doesn’t discriminate. It impacts earners at every pay grade. About 24% of people earning $100,000 and up are still living paycheck to paycheck. Financially stressed people are more likely to be depressed and distracted on the job. And they’re twice as likely to be looking for a new job–hence the importance, and the need, for employers to provide this economic benefit for their employees.

What is Financial Wellness?

Financial wellness is a relatively new term, created only in the last decade. It encompasses more than just covering monthly bills. Financial wellness can be defined as effectively managing your economic life as a whole. This can include spending less money than you make, having an effective strategy for paying off debt and staying out of debt, moving away from a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle, and meeting financial goals, among other elements. Financial wellness might look different to each individual based on their own personal situation, while the steps to a financially healthy lifestyle can be used across all.

But financial wellness doesn’t go far enough. And all too often, it’s a check-the-box solution that people don’t use.

What is Financial Empowerment?

Financial wellness is like a gym membership. Lots of people have it, but few actually use it. And for people with a long way to go, getting started can be pretty intimidating. Financial empowerment takes financial wellness a few steps further and includes the gym, a personal trainer, and a meal plan.

Financial empowerment is like physical fitness. It’s a lifelong journey with no shortcuts. It’s the difference between dieting and committing to eating more healthfully–it’s really about behavior change, not just reading an article. Everyone starts at a different place. And no matter how fit you are today, if something unexpected happens, like an injury, you might need help getting back to where you want to be.

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