SAN DIEGO, March 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Zebit, a free employee benefit that helps working Americans take control of their everyday financial lives, has teamed up with businesswoman, investor and television personality Barbara Corcoran to instate and observe March as Financial Stress Awareness Month—bringing immediate attention and visibility to a silent crisis affecting the American workforce. Stress is estimated to cost U.S. businesses $300 billion annually1 and the number one cause of stress is financial stress, with 85 percent of employees experiencing at least some level of financial strain.2,3 Employers can no longer ignore the burden that employees' financial stress has on their bottom line and are encouraged to use March as a time to explore programs that address the issue head-on.
"As one of 10 kids who grew up in a blue-collar family without material advantages, I not only understand firsthand the worry associated with cash constraints, but the importance of feeling empowered to overcome setbacks," said Corcoran. "We can't sit around and let financial stress cripple opportunity, but rather work with companies like Zebit to fuel the American dream and educate employers on their critical role in helping consumers become financially fit."
Nearly one-quarter of people are affected by financial stress at work at least once per day.4 By partnering with employers and leveraging advanced technology, Zebit alleviates employee stress with a free financial wellness benefit that includes budgeting tools and online education, as well as access to a worry-free and interest-free credit model called a ZebitLine. Members can use this credit in the Zebit Market, which features thousands of name brand products at retail prices, to make large or unexpected purchases while paying for them over time without interest or fees. Unlike expensive credit cards or other financing alternatives, Zebit members can avoid accruing interest and the stress that comes with revolving debt. Zebit's wellness library also contains a newly launched, free Instant Budget mobile app—available for download at the Apple App and Google Play stores—which takes the guesswork out of budgeting by automatically creating a customized budget based on income, where someone lives, and the number of people in his or her household.
"We are living in a society with far too many 'gotcha' situations where working Americans have limited financial options and are forced to make life-event purchases using high-interest credit, high-cost short-term loans, or risky rent-to-own services where one wrong move creates a spiral of stress that spills into the workplace," said Michael Thiemann, CEO and co-founder at Zebit. "With this initiative, we are committing an entire month to combating the 'gotchas' and opening affordable financing options to hardworking Americans in need of a clear path to financial freedom. We are proud to swim with a shark and work with Barbara to help employers provide the American worker with a financial safety net."
Throughout March's Financial Stress Awareness Month, Zebit is offering employers a free financial wellness audit to help businesses identify and address productivity and revenue issues caused by employee stress. In turn, Zebit will donate $100 to Inspiration Corporation for the first 15 qualified companies that participate in the audit. Inspiration Corporation helps people who are affected by homelessness and poverty to improve their lives and increase self-sufficiency through the provision of social services, employment training and placement, and housing.
"From recruitment to retention, this audit is designed to help employers protect the investment made in employees by addressing their No. 1 stress and distraction—finances," added Thiemann.
In recognition of Financial Stress Awareness Month, Zebit has also provided the below three steps for reducing stress brought on by financial woes.
- Perform a Self-Assessment—the first step employees must take on the road to financial freedom is to honestly and openly assess their current financial state. Self-critique can seem daunting and intimidating—especially when it comes to money—but it is through honest self-reflection that employees will be able to identify and better handle money missteps. Zebit offers a free ZebitScore analysis to provide insight on strengths and areas for improvement.
- Manage a Budget—a quick way to understand and control finances is by following a pre-determined budget. Download the Instant Budget app by Zebit to receive a customized budget to follow for free.
- Create a Savings Plan—unexpected expenses can happen at a moment's notice, but when you have a savings fund, the long-term impact of these situations can be minimal. Attend financial workshops or take free online courses to receive the knowledge and tools needed to plan for the unexpected.
Zebit and Corcoran are hosting events throughout Financial Stress Awareness Month. Media interested in speaking with Corcoran or a Zebit executive should contact Havas Formula at firstname.lastname@example.org. Employers who would like to receive a free financial wellness audit should contact Zebit at email@example.com.
To learn more about Zebit visit www.zebit.com.
About Barbara Corcoran
Barbara Corcoran is a businesswoman, investor, speaker, consultant, syndicated columnist, author and television personality. Corcoran became one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the U.S. when she took a $1,000 loan to start The Corcoran Group, which is now New York's largest real estate company. A Shark on ABC's hit reality show Shark Tank, Corcoran has invested in 22 businesses, where her famous brash, blunt and courageous character has shepherded numerous businesses to success. For more information, visit www.barbaracorcoran.com.
Zebit is a free employee benefit that provides financial education, planning tools, and no-cost credit options that help working Americans take control of their everyday financial lives. By partnering with employers and leveraging advanced technology, Zebit provides a unique financial wellness offering that lowers employee stress and improves the corporate bottom line. Zebit is located in San Diego and is backed by VCs that include Crosslink Capital, Wildcat Venture Partners, Leapfrog Ventures and Correlation Ventures. Learn more at www.zebit.com.
1American Institute of Stress, http://www.stress.org/workplace-stress/
2American Psychological Association, https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2014/stress-report.pdf
3Financial Finesse, https://www.financialfinesse.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Financial-Stress-Report_2015.pdf
4Zebit and Havas Formula Independent Study, 2016