Want to get your finances on track? Try moving more.
Not to a new house. Just…around.
People who exercise regularly are better off financially, according to a new study from Lincoln Financial Group, a personal investment firm. It says that 78 percent of Americans who exercise at least once a week believe they are on the right track to financial success.
“If you have a healthy lifestyle and you feel good, you are more optimistic,” says Eric Reisenwitz from Lincoln Financial Group. “That can translate to motivation to do the right things when it comes to your money.”
According to the study, feelings about finances are split relatively evenly among Americans. Most, however, believe they’re on the right track: 55 percent feel like they’re doing well, while 45 percent think they’re not heading in the right direction.
Why your job matters
Fitness aside, the study shows a major path to getting financially healthy is to find a job with awesome benefits.
“Fifty-seven percent of employees enrolled in more than three nonmedical benefits say they are on the right track to reaching financial wellness,” the study said. Aside from being more satisfied with their jobs, these Americans say they feel “very confident” in being able to cover a financial emergency.
Open enrollment, which usually begins in the fall for many workplaces, give employees a chance to review their benefits. Lincoln says 48 percent of employees don’t understand the information they’re receiving and only 21 percent say they have a proactive employer who helps employees understand their benefit options. Most people would appreciate better information: 91 percent say they are more likely to enroll in benefits if they were educated about them.
“Today, many employers offer a broad spectrum of benefits, beyond traditional medical insurance and retirement plans,” Reisenwitz says. “We just need to ensure those ancillary benefits come along with the appropriate education… because if employees can take full advantage of their benefits packages, they’re taking a step in the right direction.”
Many employees, as many as 83 percent, admit that they would pay more for some benefits if their employers offered more of a variety.
Why your finances need a plan
What about the 45 percent of us feeling financially off track? Well, 34 of those percent are hoping to be on the right track, and the other 11 don’t see themselves getting on track any time soon.
Not being financially prepared can hurt you big time in the long run. If you’re not ready for an emergency, like losing your job or the death of loved one, it can have a lasting impact on your finances. Along with that, if you’re not saving for retirement like many Americans who admit to being financially stressed, you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment.
If your workplace benefits include a 401(k) employer match, make sure to take advantage of every dollar. Even if they don’t, max out your employee contributions now while you can so your future self can thank you while being financially comfortable in retirement.