Canadians Struggle to Discuss Financial Challenges Due to Shame and Embarrassment

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93 Per Cent of Counsellors* Believe Financial Challenges Affect Work and Productivity: Manulife Study

Waterloo, ON (Oct. 25, 2017) – Manulife today announced the results of its latest study on health and wealth, this year finding that feelings of shame and embarrassment often impede Canadians from acknowledging their personal financial struggles. According to professional Counsellors surveyed in this study, conducted in partnership with Homewood Health Inc., these emotional barriers often have a negative impact on the health of Canadians.

The study shows that these feelings can lead to a perpetual cycle of mental and physical health problems, reducing both quality of life and productivity at work. The professional Counsellors responded that many Canadians are unable to talk about their own financial challenges because of their intimate nature, with one stating “It’s very personal, sometimes more personal than sex. When I ask clients if they want to talk about money they are not very open.”

“The stigma, shame and embarrassment of being financially unwell often prevents people from taking action to address and overcome these issues,” said Sue Reibel, Executive Vice President & General Manager, Group Benefits & Retirement Solutions at Manulife. “We believe that the industry as a whole has a bigger role to play in helping remove these stigmas. Only once an individual is comfortable discussing their own money problems, can they begin to take steps to address them.”

Key Findings of the Emotional Barriers to Financial Wellness – 2017 Study Include:

  • Nearly half (46 per cent) of professional Counsellors feel it is difficult for individuals suffering from financial health issues to reveal these issues mainly due to shame and embarrassment;
  • 74 per cent of professional Counsellors feel that personal finances have a high impact on emotional and mental health;
  • Half the time financial challenges are an underlying element beneath the issues for which people seek support from Counsellors;
  • Only one in three professional Counsellors see people making the connection between their finances and other life problems.

“Our industry can help remove these stigmas by encouraging those going through financial challenges to discuss these problems more openly, and to take advantage of free and accessible tools that help alleviate financial distress, which can lead to anxiety, depression and stress,” added Reibel.

*Professional Counsellors are defined as those professionals that address a full range of mental health issues including but not limited to family and relationship issues, trauma, depression, anger management, life transitions and personal issues.

Infographic

Manulife’’s health and wealth journey has led to new discoveries about financial wellness and its effect on a person’s health and productivity. After talking to Counsellors, we made one more: emotional barriers can stand in the way. (Manulife Financial Corporation)

Methodology

The study was conducted between April 2016 and July 2017 in three phases, starting with qualitative interviews with nine professional Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) Counsellors.  This was followed by a quantitative survey of 223 EFAP Counsellors.  The final phase was five key qualitative interviews with professional EFAP Counsellors.

About Manulife

Manulife Financial Corporation is a leading international financial services group that helps people achieve their dreams and aspirations by putting customers’ needs first and providing the right advice and solutions. We operate as John Hancock in the United States and Manulife elsewhere. We provide financial advice, insurance, as well as wealth and asset management solutions for individuals, groups and institutions. At the end of 2016, we had approximately 35,000 employees, 70,000 agents, and thousands of distribution partners, serving more than 22 million customers. As of June 30, 2017, we had over $1 trillion (US$780 billion) in assets under management and administration, and in the previous 12 months we made $26.7 billion in payments to our customers. Our principal operations are in Asia, Canada and the United States where we have served customers for more than 100 years. With our global headquarters in Toronto, Canada, we trade as ‘MFC’ on the Toronto, New York, and the Philippine stock exchanges and under ‘945’ in Hong Kong.

SOURCE: Manulife Financial Corporation

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