Financial stress has increased this year and the pressure and uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis has compelled people to seek guidance on financial planning, both outside and from their employers. That’s according to Manulife’s Financial Stress Survey of Canadians.
“Given the upheaval experienced in 2020 to-date, it’s no surprise that retirement savers are more stressed today than they were pre-COVID,” said Sue Reibel, Global Head of Retirement, Manulife Investment Management. “The silver lining in this year’s data is that people are more open to financial advice than in years past.
The pandemic’s impact on financial stress is evident and significant. In fact, the number of individuals reporting high levels of financial stress more than doubled from 11% pre-COVID to 27% since the crisis struck. Based on today’s realities, including roughly 51% of Canadians dipping into their emergency savings or increasing credit card balances since the beginning of the pandemic.
In Canada, more than half of the respondents indicated they were interested in retirement planning and investing advice. Nearly three-quarters of U.S. respondents reported that they would seek advice on retirement planning.
Opportunity for Employers
With survey respondents reporting increased interest in advice and 75% claiming that an employer-sponsored financial wellness program would positively impact their financial stress, the data suggests employers can have a direct impact on the financial wellness of their teams beyond salary. Overall, 80% of respondents report that simply setting financial goals would be helpful. Ninety per cent of respondents feel it is important for employers to offer financial wellness programs, including roughly four in ten who find them highly important.