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The cost of kindness

For it is in giving that we receive. - Francis of Assisi

YR Plans

Nov 13, 2019

Gift-giving season is upon us, that time of year when we spend beyond our means, half ignoring the consequences of our kindness. It feels good to give, so we give in to the Santa fantasy. Credit card companies win the holidays when we accumulate debt we don’t really want and can’t really afford. The employers of the world, they lose the holidays when come January, we’re all preoccupied, frantically trying to make ends meet.

Working Canadians take on an enormous amount of debt. Sometimes they lose sleep over it, sometimes they miss work because of it, oftentimes they’re overwhelmed by it. The Financial Planning Standards Council points to some ill effects of record levels of debt:

  • 40% of working Canadians feel overwhelmed by their level of debt

  • 48% say they’ve lost sleep because of financial worries

  • 35% spend all their net pay or even more

  • 44% say it would be difficult to meet their financial obligations if their pay was late

  • 37% say they will have to delay retirement because they will not have enough money saved

Tired, anxious and employees stretched thin financially – the opposite of what employers need to succeed. According to a Manulife Financial study, financially stressed employees:

  • 5 times more likely to be distracted at work

  • 46% spend 3 hours or more a week dealing with financial issues.

Leading organizations understand that employee financial stress is impacting their business – and not in a good way. Organizations are increasingly turning to non-core benefits like workplace student loan repayment, to give their employees the best gift: peace of mind.