Self-care has become a very hot topic and has gotten even bigger post COVID. The wellness industry continues to grow and its estimated value in 2021 reached $1.5 trillion. One area of wellbeing is often left out of the conversation: financial well-being. Financial well-being is often “taboo” to talk about, but more and more studies show it has a strong impact on mental health. If the real estate industry does not start working to understand the impact of financial well-being on mental health and begin to invest in solutions to help, our collective mental health will suffer in addition to productivity.
Let’s examine just how strong the connection between financial well-being and mental health is and how associations, brokers, and NAR may be able to help.
The far-reaching impact of financial stress
First, it’s important to understand just how widespread financial stress is. It’s not something that only people living in a certain income bracket or job roll experience. 64% of Americans currently live paycheck to paycheck—and 48% of people who earn six figures live that way, too.
And according to PwC’s 2022 Health and Wellbeing Survey, among financially-stressed employees, 49 percent said money stress had a severe or major impact on their mental health in the past year. When you think of something having a severe or major impact on your mental health, you think of things that are debilitating—and financial anxiety can truly be debilitating, infiltrating every aspect of a person’s life, from their relationships to their performance. This ultimately trickles down to their clients buying or selling their home.
A continuous cycle of strain
Constant financial anxiety and fear wears on a person and can create a vicious cycle. Ongoing, long-term financial stress can contribute to other health issues like insomnia and depression. Once a person is dealing with these issues, it becomes harder and harder to create a path forward to financial wellness. This diagram from the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute outlines this type of cycle nicely.
This cycle can also force people to pursue payday loans or other risky options for attempting to correct their financial situation, especially when it comes to debt. Agents have it even tougher given they are 100% commission paid so their income is lumpy and inconsistent. They could go months without a commission check.
Now is the time to answer the call
Agents don’t leave their financial hardship at the door when they take care of clients. They bring their stress over a missed bill, an unexpected tax bill, rising childcare costs, and more into their client’s experience.
If ever there was a time to focus on solutions to address real estate agent financial wellness, it’s now. People are still reeling from the economic impacts of a global pandemic paired with rising inflation and a slowing market. And amid the changing real estate market, people want more from brokers and associations in terms of benefits and support.
More workplaces than ever are realizing they have to extend some sort of financial wellness benefit to their employees if they want to keep them loyal. After all, financially-stressed agents are twice as likely to look for a new job or brokerage.
How Symba can help
Symba has built a mobile app that gives real estate agents banking features and transparency into their financial well-being they’ve never had before. We combine an agent's deal management, sales pipeline, and banking so they can get the full picture allowing them to make smarter financial decisions and grow their business more effectively from anywhere.
The problems of financial insecurity and mental health issues are complex and far-reaching. But finding tangible solutions that can help agents is the first step to improving their wellbeing and their performance. Taking small actions today can have a domino effect on the industry. Are you ready to be the catalyst for positive change? Share Symba with a friend today!