Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley at Work Unveils Financial Wellness Findings from Inaugural State of the Workplace Financial Benefits Study

Dec 9, 2021

New York —
  • Finances cited as a major source of stress among employees and employers, affecting personal lives, work and productivity
  • Over the past year, more than nine in 10 U.S. employees have faced financial issues in their personal lives, reducing contributions to personal savings and employer-sponsored savings plans

New York - 

Morgan Stanley at Work today released the latest findings from its inaugural State of the Workplace Financial Benefits Study, highlighting the economic challenges that employees face amid the pandemic, as well as the evolving views on financial wellness benefits in the workplace.

The study found that employees across all generations are struggling with their personal finances amid the pandemic. This has led employers to utilize financial wellness benefits in an effort to reduce employee financial strain and drive productivityAmong the notable findings from the study:

  • Employees lost financial footing amid the pandemic. 91% of employees report having faced personal financial issues, with the top three being: household budgeting (47%), debt reduction (42%), and emergency and short-term savings (30%). Nearly one in four Millennials (23%) report having faced a full-blown financial crisis, compared with 17% of Gen X, and 8% of Boomer employees.
  • Employee contributions to all financial accounts took a hit. More than half (59%) of employees said they needed to reduce contributions to savings, debt, or loan payments that occurred across 401(k) savings accounts (29%), long-term savings (28%), emergency and short-term savings (25%), and debt and loan payments (25%).
  • Employees and HR executives alike see the impact of personal financial stress on work productivity and performance. 64% of employees report that financial stress is negatively affecting their work and personal life, while 82% of employers are worried personal financial issues affect employee work productivity. This is particularly higher among Millennials, where 70% cite higher financial stress, compared to 61% of Gen X and 49% Boomer employees.
  • HR executives and employees have an idea where to start. About 1 in 3 (34%) HR executives and 1 in 4 employees (21%) say student loan repayment management is an essential benefit to helping employees meet their personal financial goals.

“The pandemic has created negative financial consequences for employees across a myriad of industries, roles, and personal situations,” said Brian McDonald, Head of Morgan Stanley at Work. “Yet, the crisis also produced an opportunity for employers, as employees are increasingly looking to the workplace for assistance with short and long-term financial needs like budgeting, managing debt, building emergency savings, and planning for retirement. Given the financial hardships employees have faced over the pandemic, we are not surprised to see financial wellness tools evolve from nice-to-haves to necessities.”

The full findings of Morgan Stanley at Work’s State of the Workplace Financial Benefits Study can be found here.

Methodology: The data from the Morgan Stanley at Work State of the Workplace Financial Benefits Study comes from a survey of 1,000 U.S. employed adults and 600 HR executives. Quotas were set for both audiences to match representative distributions, including for company size, benefits status and seniority. The survey was conducted on behalf of Morgan at Stanley at Work using an email invitation and an online survey between September 21 and September 28, 2021 by Wakefield Research (

About Morgan Stanley at Work
Morgan Stanley at Work offers a suite of financial solutions, which spans Equity Compensation through Shareworks and E*TRADE Equity Edge Online, Retirement and Financial Wellness Solutions. Morgan Stanley at Work combines cutting-edge planning and Morgan Stanley intellectual capital and financial education delivered through multiple channels to enable employees to build a holistic plan to achieve their financial goals. Employee stock plan solutions, including Equity Edge Online, are part of the Morgan Stanley at Work solutions and are offered by E*TRADE Financial Corporate Services, Inc. Morgan Stanley at Work currently has offices in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia Pacific.

Wakefield Research is neither an employee of, nor affiliated with, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”).

About Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, a global leader, provides access to a wide range of products and services to individuals, businesses and institutions, including brokerage and -investment advisory services, financial and wealth planning, cash management and lending products and services, annuities and insurance, retirement and trust services.

About Morgan Stanley
Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services. With offices in more than 41 countries, the Firm's employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals. For more information about Morgan Stanley, please visit

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