By Scott Anderson

Four out of ten Canadians claim their biggest source of stress comes from financial worries.

According to the latest Financial Stress survey, put out by the Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC), younger Canadians (ages 18-34) and lower-income Canadians (earning less than $40,000/year) feel the most embarrassed by their lack of control over their finances.

Similarly, the Canadian Payroll Association’s survey reported that most Canadians are living paycheque to paycheque. Almost half of respondents said it would be difficult to pay their bills if their paycheque arrived just one week late and a similar number blamed their inability to perform well at work on their money troubles.

Financially stressed employees are likely taking time out of their workday – anywhere from one to five hours each week, on average – to take care of financial matters.

One way to help manage employee financial stress and lessen the drain on employers is by offering financial counseling through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). But many Canadians, especially younger ones, are in desperate need of more support. Offering complete financial wellness seminars can provide a starting point for those just learning how to manage their money.

When planning your seminar, be sure to cover these top five tips:

  1. Don’t spend more than you earn. It sounds obvious, but the average Canadian owes $1.71 for every dollar he has.
  2. Make a budget—and stick with it. To ensure your budget includes savings, treat yourself as you would another bill. Look for easy places to reduce: bring your lunch from home or choose a bank account with lower fees. And if you have a spouse or partner, be completely transparent about your financial situation.
  3. Watch your credit card. If your balance increases and you can’t keep up with the payments, you need to reign in your spending.
  4. Create an emergency fund. Even if you don’t keep cash around, make sure you have access to a line of credit. That way, if you lose a job, you won’t be under water immediately.
  5. Make a will. It’s not just for wealthy people. It’s better to make important decisions when you’re healthy and not when you’re under stress.

Financial wellness doesn’t have to be elusive, and it’s not just for the wealthy. Demystify financial health for your employees as part of comprehensive retirement planning.

HUB International’s team of brokers has extensive experience designing the full range of employee benefit and retirement planning programs, including financial wellness education, and can help you plan the right way to guide your employees toward financial wellbeing.