Do your employees have the resources they need to thrive through the holiday season, avoiding the financial stress that drags on health and productivity?

financial mindfulness around holidays

Do your employees have the resources they need to thrive through the holiday season, to avoid the financial stress that drags on employee health and productivity, profits and social impact?

According to BetterHelp, an online mental health services provider, 45 percent of Americans worry about their mental health during the holiday season.

Per a recent Bankrate survey, even more people will worry about their financial health: 54 percent of holiday shoppers expect to feel financially burdened this year.

To mitigate the stress of the holidays and its negative effects on employees and organizations, smart employers and HR leaders communicate regularly with employees about mental and financial health challenges during this time of year.

You tout available mental health and financial wellness benefits (and buy TrustPlus, cough) and encourage employees to use their time off.
Because, simply sharing information shows your employees you care about their challenges, which brings its own benefits in terms of employee engagement and retention.

To give employers a window into how TrustPlus Personal Financial Coaches engage with workers around the holidays, we spoke with TrustPlus Personal Financial Coach Elise Nussbaum. We cover what a holiday shopping session looks like, how she approaches the holidays with clients, and tips for workers worried about affording the cost of the holidays.

The transcript has been edited for length and clarity.

What’s the connection between holiday budgeting and mindfulness?

A lot of clients say, “The holidays are really important to me. These specific traditions are really important to me, they bring me a lot of satisfaction and my family a lot of happiness. And I am willing to splash out. I want to buy presents for all of my nieces and nephews and my siblings and their partners and have everybody over.”

Other clients tell me, “Last year I bought presents just to buy presents, and it wasn’t a conscious decision. And it wasn’t something that I felt good about afterwards. And I would like to approach the holidays more mindfully.”

Either way, going forward, it is important to walk away with some numbers on paper. At the end of the day, the money that you spend is going to be a specific number. You know what I mean? It’s going to be a specific dollar amount that you have spent. And I think that it is important to engage with that fact, and also with the question: is that a number that brings me joy?

Why do you love holiday budgeting?

Budgeting for the holidays can actually be a really nice exercise, because you get to think about all of the things you like about the holidays: do you buy an ugly sweater and wear it to a party? Do you buy a Christmas tree and an ornament for each kid every year? So, it can be a really nice conversation where you’re thinking about all of these things that bring you joy over the holidays.

We budget for decorations, matching pajamas, whatever their holidays look like, and make a list of gift-giving scenarios: who’s there, who are you shopping for, what do you anticipate spending on each of those items, from gifts and decorations to clothes and food–for all of the things that that make the holidays a special time?

What’s your advice on Buy Now, Pay Later and on holiday credit card and store card deals?

When it comes to any kind of financial product, I think it’s really important to understand what you’re getting into. So for example, with Buy Now, Pay Later, let’s understand how they make their money.

Why are they not charging you interest? Because they get a cut of the retail sales from the store. Because people who use Buy Now, Pay Later tend to buy more than people who are paying for it on the spot.