If you find yourself worrying about finances, it may come as a relief that you’re not alone with recent research confirming that finances have long been a source of stress for Australians.

According to the ‘Stress and wellbeing’ report published by the Australian Psychological Society, financial issues rated as the top cause of stress for Australians over a five year period*. And more recently, research from Mercer’s ‘Inside Employees’ Minds’ found that people spend about half a day a month worrying about personal finances.

Take a look at the workplace and the same insights apply to your employees, particularly as they approach the major life milestone of retirement.

Common questions your employees may be asking range from how much they’ll need to how long their money needs to last right through to where it’s going to come from?

But it’s not all doom and gloom. While preparing for retirement is an individual concern, there are steps both the individual and employers can take to reduce stress in the lead up to retirement, with benefits to both your employees and your business.

Help your employees to plan

Retirement will bring significant lifestyle changes for your employees. Whether they plan to travel, take up new hobbies or simply spend more time with their family, these lifestyle changes will bring some financial changes too. Encouraging your employees to think about how they might spend their retirement is the first step in planning for the inevitable changes.

And when it comes to retirement planning, it’s never too early or too late to begin. There’s a range of resources available at australiansuper.com to help introduce positive planning behaviours in an easy-to-understand format.

Financial advice from a professional accredited adviser is also an option. AustralianSuper’s advice options can be viewed at australiansuper.com/advice

Consider workplace flexibility

Supporting mature age workers to stay engaged in the workplace is one way of reducing stress in the lead up to retirement. Examples of flexible working arrangements include changes in the following areas:

  • work hours (e.g. less hours or changes in start/finish times)
  • patterns of work (e.g. job sharing or split shifts)
  • location of work (e.g. working from home or another location)

While flexible work arrangements won’t suit all employers, implementing them has been identified as helpful in retaining mature age workers with positive flow on effects for the business. So much so it may be worthwhile having a conversation with your employees. Here’s a rundown of the benefits of flexible work arrangements from Fair Work Australia:

  • a cost effective way of retaining skilled staff and institutional memory
  • improves staff morale, leading to greater engagement in the workplace
  • reduced staff turnover, lowering recruitment and training costs
  • a way of being recognised as an employer of choice within your industry or sector

In situations where working less is an option for your employee and the business, information on using super to supplement the shortfall in their take home pay is available at australiansuper.com.

Use the resources on offer

Aside from the resources available at australiansuper.com, we’ve recently launched a new content hub titled Money in the Next Third for members approaching retirement. Money in the next third aims to simplify retirement planning, focussing attention on the small but powerful things people can do to improve their retirement savings prior to finishing up work. You can view Money in the Next Third here australiansuper.com/nextthird

*www.psychology.org.au/Assets/Files/PW15-SR.pdf

www.mercer.com/our-thinking/wealth/inside-employees-minds.html

www.fairwork.gov.au/how-we-will-help/templates-and-guides/best-practice-guides/the-right-to-request-flexible-working-arrangements