80% of Employees Have a Problematic Level of Debt, According to New Survey

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With inflation running wild (and many salaries not keeping up), many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and racking up debt in the process, according to new surveys.

As MarketWatch reported this week, living paycheck to paycheck has “become the norm” for many workers. Citing data from a new Lending Tree survey that polled 4,000 people, they found that 63% of middle class and 49% of high-income earners are waiting on the 15th and 30th every month to receive their money (which is an increase from 57% and 38%, respectively, reported last year). In general 65% of all employees in America, in 2022 at least, are living paycheck to paycheck.

Compounding the issue, The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) also recently released findings from a new 2022 Workplace Wellness Survey — the data indicated 80% of American workers have a “problematic level of debt” including student loans, medical bills and credit card balances. 

To conduct the study, EBRI polled 1,518 full-time and part-time workers aged 21 to 64 across the spectrum of race, age, gender and income level. The survey also oversampled workers that identify as LGBTQ in order to include a good cross-section of respondents.

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The survey found that 60% of employees are concerned about the financial well-being of their household (up from 49% in 2021) and 50% and 48% are concerned about their emotional and physical well-being, respectively. 

Employer’s Should Have Some Responsibility To Protect Employees: Survey

In addition, a large majority of workers believe that employers should “have a responsibility” to ensure well-being in those three areas, including 66% that say their companies should help with financial security. Yet less than half would rate their current place of business as making an effort in these areas. Only 44% of those polled are satisfied with the benefit package they currently receive at work, including health insurance and retirement contributions. That’s down from 51% in 2021.

The potential employment benefits that respondents felt are most important include work-life balance and workplace flexibility as well as paid time off; remote work has also been a big positive for many.

The survey also pointed out that many workers would like to have a financial wellness program at their company — when it has been available, 60% of respondents opted in.

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