Market Overview

Fidelity® Research Finds the Top Two Sources of Stress for American Workers Are Their Job and Finances


New Research Finds Health, Finances, Work, and Life are Intimately
Connected in Expected and Unexpected Ways

Health, money, work and life all play a critical role in an individual's
total well-being, according to a recent study1 from Fidelity
Investments. The study, based on responses from more than 9,000 workers
and conducted in collaboration with researchers from the Stanford Center
on Longevity and Cornell University, was designed to provide insight on
the overall well-being of American workers. Fidelity's survey and
behavioral analysis focuses on the four domains of well-being, providing
a unique view into how they are connected:

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

Stress heat map (Graphic: Business Wire)

Stress heat map (Graphic: Business Wire)

  • Financial (debt, savings, insurance, budgeting),
  • Health (physical health, mental health, healthy behaviors),
  • Work (work/life balance, career status and opportunities,
    burnout) and,
  • Life (personal satisfaction, sense of purpose, sources of
    stress, relationships).

"When it comes to total well-being programs, employers have
traditionally focused on health, but have recently expanded efforts to
include financial wellness. Financial wellness programs have gone a long
way toward helping workers to create a budget they can live with and
have helped many employees consolidate and/or minimize debt. The next
step for employers is to account for their wellness at work and in life,
as these are two critical dimensions of overall well-being that
shouldn't be overlooked," said Jeanne Thompson, head of Global Workplace
Insights, Fidelity Investments. "Taking a holistic view of financial and
health wellness, in addition to work and life, provides a more complete
assessment of employee well-being, which can help employers provide the
right benefits to the right person at the right time."

Building on Fidelity's Financial
Wellness assessment
, Fidelity designed the survey to measure total
well-being and used the results to assign a total well-being "score" for
respondents within each domain of well-being – on a scale of 0-100, an
individual with a score of 61 or higher was considered "well," while a
score of 60 or below was considered "unwell."

While 77 percent of respondents were considered "well" when it comes to
their overall well-being, more than two thirds (68 percent) of employees
were "unwell" in at least one domain of well-being. Here are some key
findings for each domain:

  • Employees are struggling most in the Financial domain, where 42
    percent fall into the "unwell" category. Employees cited their
    finances as a major cause of stress, second only to job-related stress.
  • Results were mixed for the Work domain – despite being the
    leading cause of stress, almost two-thirds (63 percent) of workers
    were considered "well" in this domain, with 87 percent noting that
    they were satisfied with their jobs. However, 24 percent of employees
    reported struggling with limited career growth opportunities and 27
    percent are battling feelings of burnout.
  • A third of employees were "unwell" in the Life domain, with 30
    percent reporting that they frequently feel stressed.
  • Surprisingly, only 12 percent of employees were "unwell" in the Health
    domain even though many (39 percent) struggle with sedentary behavior.

Connecting the Dots: Money, Health, Work and Life are Intrinsically

Fidelity's research uncovered the extent to which the domains of
well-being are interconnected, and how challenges in one well-being
domain can have a negative impact on additional domains. Here are
several key findings that emerged from the research:

  • Employees struggle with many sources of stress in their lives, but
    the biggest stressors are related to work and finances.
    expected, stress related to work and finances impacted just about all
    employees in the survey, regardless of age, gender or income, and
    nearly all respondents (98 percent) reported feeling stressed in the
    past 3 months. Employees were most likely to report high levels of
    stress caused by their job (47 percent of participants), saving for
    the future (34 percent), paying off debt (33 percent) and their weight
    (30 percent). Family and friends were rarely a source of stress; in
    fact, having multiple close relationships is a leading indicator of
    overall well-being. In addition, sleep, coworkers and an individual's
    boss were not significant sources of stress.
  • Employee debt2 is linked to lower
    productivity at work.
    Employees with the highest levels of debt
    have twice the absenteeism of those with the lowest levels of debt,
    and miss an additional full week of work more when comparing the two
    groups. When looking at various types of debt, past-due medical bills
    were the leading indicator of workplace absenteeism, with one in eight
    workers reporting struggling with unpaid medical bills. In addition,
    84 percent of the people with unpaid medical bills are financially
    unwell, two thirds don't get enough sleep and they miss an average of
    three additional days of work annually. More well-known forms of debt,
    like student loans and credit cards, were not a significant cause of
    employees missing work.
  • Those who struggle with debt2 also report
    health issues.
    When compared with workers who were not struggling
    with debt, workers with debt challenges are very unlikely to be in
    "excellent" health (only 14 percent of those struggling were in
    excellent health, compared with 35 percent of workers without debt
    issues); are significantly less likely to get enough sleep (35 percent
    vs. 54 percent) and are significantly more likely to be frequently
    stressed or anxious (46 percent vs. 26 percent).
  • Health and wealth are intrinsically connected. Achieving
    wellness in either the Health or Financial domains is extremely rare
    when facing challenges in the other – poor physical health generally
    correlates to poor financial health, and vice versa. According to the
    survey, only four percent of employees who had poor health ratings
    achieved strong financial wellness scores, yet 60 percent of people
    who are "well" in terms of health are also financially well.

About the Survey
Fidelity's Total Well-Being survey analyzed
responses from 9,315 workers across the U.S. who have a 401(k) or 403(b)
account with Fidelity. Survey participants represented the full working
age range (21-75, median of 45) and were distributed fairly evenly by
generation (28% Millennial, 36% Gen X and 33% Baby Boomer) and gender
(46% male, 54% female). About two-thirds (67%) had a college degree or
higher. Additional details on the survey results are highlighted in this
Fidelity Viewpoints

About Fidelity's Financial Wellness program
understands that employers are looking for help addressing the financial
wellness needs of a broad spectrum of workers, ranging from individuals
with basic financial needs to employees with more complex financial
challenges, and recognize financial wellness can have a direct impact on
workplace productivity, benefits engagement and optimization, and
outcomes to drive workforce management. The Financial Wellness program
demonstrates Fidelity's commitment to helping address these broad needs
while enabling employers to confidently achieve the outcomes they desire
for their employees and their organization.

About Fidelity Investments
Fidelity's mission is to inspire
better futures and deliver better outcomes for the customers and
businesses we serve. With assets under administration of $7.0 trillion,
including managed assets of $2.5 trillion as of June 30, 2018, we focus
on meeting the unique needs of a diverse set of customers: helping more
than 27 million people invest their own life savings, 23,000 businesses
manage employee benefit programs, as well as providing more than 12,500
financial advisory firms with investment and technology solutions to
invest their own clients' money. Privately held for 70 years, Fidelity
employs more than 40,000 associates who are focused on the long-term
success of our customers. For more information about Fidelity
Investments, visit

Keep in mind that investing involves risk. The value of your investment
will fluctuate over time and you may gain or lose money.

Diversification/asset allocation does not ensure a profit or guarantee
against loss.

Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC
900 Salem
Street, Smithfield, RI 02917

Fidelity Investments Institutional Services Company, Inc.,
Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917

National Financial Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC,
200 Seaport
Boulevard, Boston, MA 02110


© 2018 FMR LLC. All rights reserved.

1 Unless otherwise noted, data represents the Fidelity
Investments Total Well-Being Research online survey of 9,315 active
Fidelity 401(k) and 403(b) participants from across the United States.
The survey was conducted by Greenwald and Associates, an independent
third-party research firm, on behalf of Fidelity in September 2017.
Debt score of 40 or below out of 100 is considered to be in the "at
risk" category.

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