After dipping earlier this year, employees’ financial wellness has nearly returned to the level recorded at year-end 2011, according to a new report.
Financial Finesse Inc. published this finding in a November research report on financial trends. The company’s financial wellness assessment, designed by certified financial planners, is a proprietary tool that measures employees’ financial wellness based on different financial criteria.
Financial Finesse recorded a financial wellness score of 5.3 in the third quarter of 2012, nearly matching the 5.4 score posted in the fourth quarter of 2011, the report discloses.
Nearly three quarters of the survey respondents (74 percent) report they are managing their cash flow well, up from 71 percent last quarter. More than six in 10 (61 percent) say they have an emergency fund, up from 51 percent last quarter.
Additionally, 89 percent report paying bills on time, up from 87 percent last quarter. And nearly seven in 10 (69 percent) say they regularly pay off their credit card balances in full, up from 57 percent in the second quarter.
However, the report adds, an increase in the number of employees running retirement projections has not yet translated into a substantial increase in retirement preparedness.
More than one-third of employees (34 percent) who had taken a financial wellness assessment in third quarter indicate they have used a financial calculator to run a retirement projection, up from 29 percent in the third quarter of last year. But only 18 percent of employees who took the assessment report being on track to replace their income goal in retirement, the report notes.
Additionally, while more employees are placing a higher priority on investing and are showing greater confidence in the markets, their confidence in their personal asset allocation remains low. Only 33 percent of employees who have taken a financial wellness assessment say there are confident in their asset allocation, down from 36 percent in 2011.
The report speculates the decline in confidence may be due in part to “uncertainty over the election and the future of the U.S. economy.”