Nearly half of Americans (49 percent) are feeling pressure to spend more than they can afford this season, up from 46 percent last year, according to an annual holiday survey by SunTrust Banks, Inc.
"We all want the holidays to be a time of happiness and relaxation, but the pressure to overspend robs people of the joy of the season and increases financial stress," said Brian Ford, financial well-being executive at SunTrust.
Money affects people in emotional ways, and we've found that those who have a better handle on their money are happier – in fact 64 percent of Americans with high financial confidence say the holidays are their favorite time of year.
Celebrate the New Year with joy, not anxiety over your finances, by following these easy tips:
1. Make a list and stick to it!
Design your holiday budget to fit your needs. Set up auto-pay to take a little from each paycheck and set aside into a holiday savings account to help pay down post-holiday debt
2. Set a gift spending limit.
Talk with family and friends to level expectations in advance.
3. Be smart as you shop.
Keep an eye out for sales and deal days that are smart for big purchases.
4. Entertain at home.
Become the host/hostess entertaining at home and engaging with guest to help with holiday gatherings.
5. Think about your financial resolutions in the New Year.
Feel thankful for the ways you shopped smart!
A federal district court in Washington, D.C. — ruling in December in AARP v. EEOC — nullified the EEOC’s rules for how employer wellness programs could be offered in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).
Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, companies may no longer assess penalties (some that triple what an employee pays for health insurance) to employees who decline to participate in wellness questionnaires and exams. Last August, a federal judge ruled that the EEOC failed to justify its 30% cap on cost incentives workers participating in wellness programs.
While the EEOC does not currently have plans to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing incentives for participation in employee wellness programs by a [specific] date, it also has not ruled out the possibility that it may issue such Notice in the future.
In planning 2019 wellness benefits, employers will need to make a decision - either continue with current programs considering the risk of EEOC enforcement or private legal action, or come up with a plan B for affected employers.
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Wellness programs have certainly captured the imaginations of benefits managers, with an ever increasing number of companies offering one type or another. Yet engagement studies show that, in most cases, management is more enthusiastically embracing wellness plans than are employees.
Recent data culled from 562 consumers who work for companies with wellness plans offers at least a partial explanation: Covered employees expect plans to include true incentives. The survey from HealthMine found that three-quarters of respondents would engage more fully in a plan that included incentive levels, with rewards for achieving goals such as maintaining ideal weight, adhering to a drug regimen for addressing chronic diseases, and not smoking. More on this story: http://bit.ly/1zEs9zQ
A federal judge has rejected the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's request for an order temporarily barring Honeywell International Inc. from penalizing workers who refused to participate in its workplace wellness program. More on this story: http://bit.ly/1shbkTT
If successful, Cleveland Clinic's new functional medicine department could put the hospital out of business. But the innovative approach to teach patients how to avoid the hospital altogether is just the program that the world-renowned, non-profit academic medical center wants to pursue, according to the Desert News National. More on this story: http://bit.ly/10kqksS