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Publication #FAR9020

New Report on Financial Distress and Its Impact in the Workplace 1

Donna Davis2

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According to current research by the Personal Finance Employee Education Foundation at Virginia Tech University, "Thirty million workers in America—one in four—are seriously financially distressed and dissatisfied with their personal financial situations" (Garman et al. 2005).

The joint effort of leading academic scholars from 10 universities, 16 experts from the business world, and four in personal finance reported their findings on the levels of financial distress and dissatisfaction among workers in America.

What they learned was that many workers are finding it more difficult to keep their heads above water financially. They also caution businesses that this problem impacts the overall productivity in the workplace. The report indicated that "Depending upon their place of employment, 30% to 80% of financially distressed workers spend time at work worrying about personal finances and dealing with financial issues instead of working" (Garman et al. 2005).

They also report that the stress from what they consider "high" to "overwhelming" financial instability is causing health problems (Garman et al. 2005).

Like many people, these workers are insecure about retirement, their ability to manage personal finances, and feel helpless about financial recovery. These concerns affect people at all income levels in society.

The researchers encourage employers to use this information to develop resources for their employees, such as financial counseling, to help them improve their financial lives.

Listening, learning, and living together: it's the science of life. "Family Album" is a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and of WUFT-FM. If you'd like to learn more, please visit our website at

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Garman, E.T., Junk, V.W., Kim, J., O'Neill, B.J., Prochaska-Cue, K., Prawitz, A.D., Lawrence, F.C., Yao, R., Weagley, R.O., Weisman, R.L., Carnathan, G., Schaus, S., Hutcheson, M.D., McKinley, D.H., Brook, M.J. (2005, March 22). Financial Stress Among American Workers, Final report: 30 million workers in America-One in four-Are seriously financially distressed and dissatisfied causing negative impacts on individuals, families and employers. Independent report from the authors. [Retrieved October 18, 2012 at].



This document is FAR9020, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Broadcast as program 138 and published January 2008. Reviewed January 2015. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at


Donna Davis, senior producer, Family Album Radio, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.