The U.S. leads the pack in the percentage of older adults who have trouble paying their medical bills.
American workers view themselves as more physically fit (57 percent) than financially fit (28 percent), according to new research from the Principal Financial Well-Being Index: American Workers.
In a release, the Company noted while employees report lagging financial health, 84 percent recognize maintaining physical health is an investment in their financial future.
Some 46 percent feel stressed about their current financial situation, although stress seems to diminish with age and among those seeking help. 35 percent of baby boomers report they feel stressed about finances compared to half of Gen Y workers (51 percent). Those working with a financial professional were much less likely to feel stressed about their finances (33 percent compared to 51 percent).
"American workers recognize the long-term financial benefits of staying healthy, but financial stress is often a constant pressure that can have a significant impact on their physical health," said Luke Vandermillen, vice president at the Principal Financial Group. "With spring in full swing, now is a good time for Americans to apply their good fitness habits to their financial lives as well. Mark some time on the calendar for financial spring cleaning; meet with a financial advisor, set goals and take action."
The Principal Financial Well-Being Index: American Workers is part of a series on the financial well-being of Americans released quarterly by The Principal.
As a way to give themselves a financial checkup, 52 percent say they have monitored their spending levels in the past year. Nearly 39 percent created a budget to keep finances in check, up from 28 percent two years ago.
In order to help maintain their financial health in the event of a job loss or other unexpected event, 57 percent have an emergency fund in place. Those who work with a financial professional are 1.5 times more likely to have a fund in place. Nearly one-in-five admit they have recently dipped into their emergency fund to cover monthly expenses.
"It's encouraging to see American workers planning for unforeseen hurdles by giving themselves a financial checkup and setting aside money in an emergency fund. Despite a few missteps, like using the fund on monthly bills, these positive behaviors show individuals are making strides and taking personal responsibility to improve their short and long-term financial well-being," said Vandermillen.
Banking on a Tax Refund
More American workers will use tax refunds to beef up their nest eggs with half of workers planning to save or reinvest their refunds, up 5 percentage points from last year. Thirty-eight percent plan to pay down or pay off short-term debt and 24 percent plan to pay down or pay off longer-term debt with their refund. Sixty- eight percent expect a tax refund this year.
This Principal Financial Well-Being Index: American Workers was conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of the Principal Financial Group.
Nielsen Holdings is an information and measurement company.
Principal Financial Group offers retirement, asset management and insurance.
((Comments on this story may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org))