The Power of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and How it Impacts Financial Well-being
In today’s economic landscape, working Americans face an alarming financial crisis. While this crisis affects individuals from all walks of life, it disproportionately impacts individuals in specific DEI groups including BIPOC, women, as well as those of disability and LGBTQIA+ status. With these DEI groups facing specific financial challenges, there is a call to employers to create a path toward lasting financial wellness for their employees in underrepresented communities.
Breaking down the numbers, the Federal Reserve reported that only 14 percent of Black families and 10 percent of Hispanic families have enough savings to cover six months of expenses, compared to 36 percent of White families. With savings being the financial lifeline to handle an unexpected or emergency expense, employees in these specific DEI groups can be put at a higher risk of raking up high-cost debt to stay afloat.
Based on a report outlining the financial behaviors of households with a disability, only 39 percent save for unexpected expenses, compared to 63 percent of those in a household without disabilities. With the ability to save directly impacting these DEI groups, it was reported roughly nine out of ten working adults express support for workplace programs to help them build their emergency cushions.
Reported by the Financial Health Network, 23 percent of those who identify as LGBTQIA+ were considered financially healthy versus 32% of people who don’t. This gap in financial health can be due to discrimination the LGBTQIA+ community faces in areas such as housing and healthcare.
Though the wealth gap between men and women has been widely discussed and publicized, women earn an estimated 82 cents for every dollar that men earn, – with the gap far wider for women of color. With the disparity of pay not being the sole differentiator between men and women, women also tend to struggle more in all areas of financial health including saving, borrowing, and planning.
The uphill battles these underrepresented communities are experiencing are stark. With one in three employees reporting their personal financial woes have directly impacted their workplace productivity, many could benefit from workplace diversity and inclusion initiatives that include a game plan to help solve financial inequality.
Over half of full-time employees are stressed about their finances. Offering access to a holistic financial wellness benefit that supports them through an immediate financial challenge and then helps them improve their financial wellbeing will not only address the crisis at hand but will also support the establishment of a more financially secure future.
Traditional employee financial benefits at times aren’t enough to attract, engage, and keep a more diverse workforce. Organizations can make underrepresented employees feel valued by prioritizing a financial wellness solution in their DEI efforts and fostering an environment that supports financial resiliency amongst all employee groups.