Majority say it has an impact on their ability to get their jobs done

The good news is that millennials are spending the time to manage their money properly. The bad news: It’s consuming 10 percent of their workweek.

That’s according to a new study from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. And while they have it worst, millennials aren’t alone.

More than half of American employees say money woes are a burden on their minds that makes it difficult to focus and stay productive at work. This has a greater impact on millennials at 67 percent, compared to baby boomers at 32 percent.

Around 64 percent are worried about running out of money in retirement, but on a positive note, employers can play a large role in helping alleviate that stress.

“Stress over personal finances extends into the workplace, impacting employees’ productivity, health and overall well-being,” says Bank of America Merrill Lynch executive Lorna Sabbia.

Biggest stressors

Those distracted hours add up. Forty-three percent of employees spend an average of three to four working hours a week on personal finances. Just over 20 percent spend five hours or more.

That’s 10 percent or more of an employee’s time at work spent on budgeting business — getting paid to think about getting paid.

The stress affects not just employees’ work but also their physical well-being, the study found.

Nearly three in five employees say financial stress has a negative effect on their physical health. That wears most heavily on younger employees — 68 percent of millennials compared to 51 percent of baby boomers.

The biggest financial stressor is rising health care costs, with 79 percent of employees saying it’s their biggest concern. Because of those rising costs, 56 percent of employees say they’re contributing less to their financial goals as a result.

That being said, employees rank their health benefits as their top employer benefit at 40 percent, followed by their 401(k) plan with 31 percent.

In general, women are more concerned than men about having to work longer than they had hoped — 61 percent of women versus 51 percent of men. Women are also more worried about needing to support family members at 46 percent compared to 38 percent of men.

Despite these concerns, the majority of employees are optimistic about their financial future, according to the study.

Help from employers

Employees look to their employers to help manage several aspects of their financial lives, the study found. Saving for retirement is what most employees need help with, and the study found that support from employers is paying off.

Like performance reviews, a financial review could help keep employees on track.

Half of employees say they would take a more active role in managing their finances if they had a regularly scheduled financial review or a personalized action plan.

Even more employees — 86 percent — are looking for a financial education plan provided from their employer.

“Employees are looking to their employers as a resource in helping them manage a broad range of financial matters,” says Sylvie Feist, director of financial guidance services at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “Employers can best meet this call for help by offering programs that address a wide range of financial needs, such as education on building better money habits and access to financial advisers who can offer personalized guidance and more holistic services.”

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Meet the Author

Gregory Cox

Gregory Cox


Cox is a freelance writer for


401k, employment, save money

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Article last modified on September 4, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Employees Stress Over Saving Instead of Working - AMP.