Getting employees to talk about money

Getting employees to talk about money

Open financial conversations can help reduce stress and boost productivity

Despite having money on their minds — and the fact that open financial conversations can help reduce stress related to money — most Americans don’t talk about it.

According to Money Talks, a recent Empower survey of 2,000 Americans, more than six in 10 Americans (61%) think about money on a regular basis, but roughly the same percentage (62%) don’t talk about their personal finances. Instead, they internalize their concerns. More than one-third (37%) worry or stress about money.

Despite such disconnects, employees understand that open discussions of personal finance are vital — even if they don’t engage in them as much as they should. Employers can play an important role in creating a culture of openness around financial security and well-being. Read on for important insights from the Money Talks survey that can help you discuss money more effectively with your employees.

Helping overcome barriers to financial conversations

Employees have widely differing knowledge and comfort levels around personal finance. Many didn’t grow up talking about money and still aren’t discussing it. The workplace can be a support system and catalyst for those discussions.

Part of the solution is to help employees get more comfortable with personal finance discussions and understand that personal finance isn’t an off-limits topic. A greater level of comfort can ease stress and open the doors to financial planning. In fact, 66% of Americans believe that open money conversations can help more people achieve financial freedom. In turn, financial freedom can help contribute to greater job satisfaction and productivity.

Understand the financial topics that most concern employees

Although most Americans don’t talk about money, they have plenty of questions. The top question that weighs on employees’ minds — “How do I make more money?” — reveals a lot about mindset and suggests how tight finances can be for many families, especially with the current pressures of inflation and economic conditions.

Employees are also particularly concerned about their nest eggs. “How much do I need for retirement?” is the second-most cited financial question for employees. More than half of respondents also consistently wonder about when they can retire.

Areas where people want help and who they turn to

Many Americans — especially younger workers — wish people would talk more about saving for the future, money mistakes, budgeting, and other financial topics. For example, 41% of Gen Zers and millennials wish people would talk more about budgeting for everyday expenses compared to just 25% of older workers. Employers should consider such distinctions as they plan outreach strategies.


Only about one-third of Americans turn to a financial professional or advisor for help with their finances, with younger workers getting their information from a wider variety of sources than older generations. Gen Zers and millennials, for example, are more than six times more likely to turn to social media platforms for such information than Gen Xers and baby boomers.

Help employees recognize that transparency and openness can be transformative

Employees stand to reap huge benefits when they are empowered to discuss financial topics. More openness about money may help address broader societal issues, too. More than six in 10 employees (62%) believe that a higher comfort level with conversations about finances can help society tackle the gender wage gap, and over half (56%) say it can improve workplace transparency.

A more open dialogue and company culture around money also can help employees move closer to what Americans say are their top three financial goals: being debt free, having a comfortable lifestyle, and retiring at their goal age. Here are some takeaways to help your employees pursue their goals:

  • Explore sponsoring in-person personal finance meetings or webinars on a regular basis to build a sense of engagement and education around financial topics.
  • Review how you’re engaging with your employees and consider a variety of strategies or approaches for different population segments.
  • Work with your retirement and other benefits providers to make sure you’re helping to address employees’ basic and complex financial challenges.
  • Highlight the value of talking to a financial professional and emphasize that financial advice can benefit all employees, regardless of their savings, income, or financial knowledge.

Download the white paper to learn more 


WF-2792953-0823 RO3046307-0823

This survey was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Empower from January 3 to January 10, 2023, surveying 2,000 Americans ages 18+.