The impact of the pandemic on stress, finances, and well-being
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the landscape of the American workforce. Our eighth annual survey of American workers highlights how respondents are feeling about their finances and well-being—and reveals a surprising opportunity for retirement plan professionals and sponsors.
Increased stress and improved finances
Many workers report extreme stress at the same time that they say their finances have improved. This contradiction is likely thanks to pandemic-related savings, such as lower commuting, entertainment, leisure, and travel expenses.
say they've experienced moderate to extreme stress in the last six months
have experienced stress, depression, or loneliness in the last year
say their finances are a cause of stress
of workers expect things to stay the same in the next year
Some positive steps, but worries remain
People are worried about economic conditions, as they were last year. But fewer are expressing concern over their personal finances, and many report progress with retirement savings and debt reduction.
Top 5 worries
Concern about economic conditions
Having enough saved for retirement
Credit card debt
Overall current financial situation
Workers are eager for help with their financial well-being
The vast majority—82%—of workers say they'd like to be more confident making financial decisions.
of workers feel it’s important for employers to offer a financial wellness program
say financial wellness programs help reduce financial stress
say a financial wellness program improves their company loyalty
say a financial wellness program increases their productivity
Financial stress among workers is a real cost for employers
Financial stress increases absenteeism and reduces productivity—and it's a cost that's gone up during the pandemic.
of workers say they'd be more productive if they didn't worry about their personal finances at work
of workers spend three or more hours per month on their finances while at work
increase in the cost of financial stress since 2019
Join us for a webinar to learn more
Our experts will share what we learned about participant well-being in our eighth annual survey. Plan sponsors can view our recent webinar. Financial professionals can register for the webinar being held on January 27.
The content of this website is for general information only and is believed to be accurate and reliable as of the posting date, but may be subject to change. It is not intended to provide investment, tax, plan design, or legal advice (unless otherwise indicated). Please consult your own independent advisor as to any investment, tax, or legal statements made.
In August 2021, John Hancock commissioned our eighth annual financial stress survey with the respected research firm Greenwald & Associates. An online survey of 1,162 workers was conducted between 8/4/21 and 9/3/21 to learn more about individual stress levels, their causes and effects, and strategies for relief.This information is general in nature and is not intended to constitute legal or investment advice. This report presents the results of research conducted by Greenwald & Associates on behalf of John Hancock. Greenwald & Associates and John Hancock are not affiliated, and neither is responsible for the liabilities of the other.
The objectives of this study were to (i) quantify the financial situation and level of financial stress of John Hancock plan participants and plan participants outside of John Hancock; (ii) determine the key triggers of financial stress; (iii) understand the extent to which actions, including actual financial behavior and planning activity, ameliorate stress; and (iv) assess retirement preparation and readiness. It was an online survey with an average length of approximately 19 minutes per respondent. All statistical testing is done at 0.95 and 0.99 significance levels. The maximum margin of sampling error at the 95% confidence level is ±4.1%. Percentages in the tables and charts may not total to 100 due to rounding and/or missing categories.