Market Overview

Morgan Stanley Study Finds that Financial Wellness Is an Opportunity to Reduce Employee Stress, Improve Retention and Engagement, and Differentiate Companies


Study conducted by the Financial Health Network on behalf of Morgan

Morgan Stanley at Work today released an employee financial wellness
study conducted by the Financial Health Network on behalf of the
organization. The study finds that financial wellness is an opportunity
for employers to reduce employee stress, improve retention and
engagement and set themselves apart in the marketplace.

A survey of 1,000 full-time employees of mid- to large-sized companies
found many employees are struggling financially and financial stress has
an impact on employees' productivity at work.1

"Providing financial wellness resources and education to employees has
tremendous benefits," said Brian McDonald, Head of Morgan Stanley at
Work. "Finances are one of the greatest sources of stress for employees,
and those concerns affect their productivity. Firms that invest in
financial wellness resources for employees will clearly set themselves
apart in the marketplace."

The key findings of the study include:

Financial Wellness is an opportunity for employers – the
financial stress experienced by employees is affecting their
productivity at work. Employees are looking to employers for solutions
and are open to financial advice, including when offered at work.

In fact, financial stress has spillover effects on employees'
productivity: nearly four in five employees (78%) who report high
financial stress say that they are distracted by stress at work.

Finances are the greatest source of stress for employees: 58% say their
finances cause them stress, more than their work situation (51%), health
issues (45%) or family issues (44%). This is true for employees at all
income levels, even higher wage-earners, with 52% of employees with
household income of more than $100,000 per year said that finances cause
them stress.

Three out of four employees (74%) say that financial wellness benefits
are important for an employer to offer, while 60% of employees surveyed
say they'd be more likely to stay at a job if their employer offered
financial wellness benefits that help them better manage their finances.

Employees have diverse financial needs – employees are struggling
with many aspects of their financial health and need help with
short-term goals like budgeting, managing debt and building emergency
savings, in addition to long-term goals like retirement planning.

Half of employees spend more than they earn each month, while 37% say
they have more debt than they can manage, and 41% said that they do not
have enough savings to cover three months of living expenses. Even among
higher-income employees, more than half report debt and unexpected
expenses as sources of stress (52% and 55%, respectively), while 43%
report that inadequate savings cause them stress.

Employers can compete by offering holistic solutions – fewer than
one-third of employees reported that their employers offer financial
wellness benefits beyond retirement plans. Yet when these benefits are
offered, uptake and employee satisfaction is high.

Among those employees whose employer offers financial wellness benefits
that help with financial needs such as emergency savings, student loan
repayment tools or access to financial coaching, between 40 and 60
percent say they have used them in the past three years.

Among those employees who use at least one financial wellness benefit,
56% say that those benefits cause them to feel positively about their

Clear communication and ease of use are important for uptake of
employee financial wellness solutions
– employees report that making
it easier to find and understand their benefits is more important even
than incentives in encouraging them to use the benefits they are offered.

Nearly half (42%) of employees say that they do not feel adequately
informed about the benefits and programs their employer offers.
Employees who do not use every benefit offered cited a clear explanation
and easy access as the two most important factors that would make it
more likely for them to use the benefit, even more than incentives.

Online calculations and live meetings with a financial advisor are
preferred ways to learn about benefits, with 66% and 62% saying they
prefer those methods, respectively. Other online approaches such as
in-person seminars (55%), live webinars (43%), chat rooms (31%) or
social media platforms (31%) are less popular.

Additional findings from the survey can be found here:

Morgan Stanley at Work helps institutions and their participants achieve
their financial goals by leveraging the full breadth of Morgan Stanley
Wealth Management. Morgan Stanley at Work offers a suite of workplace
financial solutions, which helps organizations maximize employee
financial benefits.

This comprehensive offering includes Retirement, Financial Wellness and
a new premier equity management offering, Shareworks by Morgan Stanley.
Together, this offering provides in-depth financial knowledge, resources
and cutting-edge technology to enable employers to empower their
employees to utilize their workplace benefits to help reduce financial
stress and reach their financial goals.

Financial Health Network and Greenwald & Associates are neither
employees of, nor affiliated with, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC
("Morgan Stanley"). Their opinions are solely their own and do not
necessarily reflect those of Morgan Stanley.

Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, a global leader, provides access to a
wide range of products and services to individuals, businesses and
institutions, including brokerage and investment advisory services,
financial and wealth planning, cash management and lending products and
services, annuities and insurance, retirement and trust services. Morgan
Stanley Wealth Management is a business of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) is a leading global financial services firm
providing investment banking, securities, wealth management and
investment management services. With offices in more than 41 countries,
the Firm's employees serve clients worldwide including corporations,
governments, institutions and individuals. For more information about
Morgan Stanley, please visit

1Data comes from a survey of 1,000 U.S. workers employed
full-time for companies with more than 500 employees. The survey was
conducted on behalf of the Financial Health Network in November and
December 2018 by Greenwald & Associates, with strategic contributions
and financial support from Morgan Stanley.

© 2019 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC.

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