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Survey: Consumers still seeking ways to improve finances

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Despite an overall increase in financial positivity, six-in-10 workers are limiting current expenses.

Nearly half of American workers feel “financially well,” an increase from last year, according to a new survey.

Bank of America’s 14th annual Workplace Benefits Report found that 47% of American workers feel they are doing well financially compared to 42% at this time last year. The report also found that 53% of employees are concerned that economic uncertainty will affect their long-term retirement savings, down from 63% in 2023.

More than half (53%) of men reported positive financial wellness compared to 36% of women. In addition, employees expressed concern about inflation, with 76% of workers saying that the cost of living is outpacing growth in their salary or wages, compared to 67% in June 2023.

"Despite concerns about the cost of living and plans to limit expenses, more employees are feeling confident about their financial well-being," said Lorna Sabbia, head of workplace benefits at Bank of America. "However, there is still work to be done to address gender equity, as women continue to report much lower financial wellness scores than men."

Despite an overall increase in financial positivity, six-in-10 workers are limiting current expenses. Paying down debt (43%) and adding to emergency funds (41%) are also common ways that consumers have been improving their finances. ​​The number of employees prioritizing long-term retirement savings is slowly trending upwards at 33% today, up from 31% in 2023.

The Bank of America report found that job loyalty remains high, with 70% of employees planning to keep their jobs for the next year, with good work/life balance as the top reason employees want to stay (66%). Of those who plan to leave, compensation (52%) was the top reason for the switch, followed by career growth (45%).

The report also listed several ways that companies can attract talent with standout benefits:

  • Pay equity is becoming a powerful recruitment tool for employers. Only 44% of employers currently address pay equity. However, those with pay equity initiatives in place notice an impact, with 78% reporting an improvement in attracting top talent compared to 50% without such initiatives. 
  • Debt assistance is also emerging as an attractive benefit. Employers are starting to explore ways they can support employees with debt, with 37% now offering student loan repayment assistance.
  • Wellness reimbursements are becoming a new benefit trend when attracting talent. According to the data, 48% of employees want their company to offer a Lifestyle Spending Account (LSA), which can help employees pay for a range of wellness expenses and encourage healthy behaviors. Examples of qualified expenses may include gym memberships, meditation classes and camping supplies. However, only 29% of employers currently offer an LSA.

Bank of America’s data is based on nationwide surveys of nearly 1,000 employees and more than 800 employers.

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