Debt is a problem for many Americans, and some workplaces are starting to acknowledge that. According to the Associated Press, financial stress costs American companies up to $250 billion a year.
Debt causes stress for workers
For many workers, debt causes financial stress. The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans states seven out of 10 employers reported the biggest financial challenge their employees face is debt.
In response, some companies are now providing options that help employees deal with debt. Insurance company Aetna and accounting firm PwC offer help paying off student loans. Other companies partner with startups focused on assisting people with debt.
You may be able to get help with student loans
Startup Brightside offers debt consolidation loans and student loan refinancing options. However, it does not loan money directly to workers. The company uses financial assistants who help employees by discussing costs, risks and benefits of different financial solutions Brightside has vetted.
Some companies help with medical bills
For workers struggling with medical bills, MedPut offers assistance. The startup looks for errors on bills, negotiates the amount owed and then loans employees money to pay off medical bills.
Other startups help with emergency cashflow issues
Other companies offer emergency loans for workers dealing with unexpected expenses. Startups HoneyBee, PayActiv and TrueConnect provide employees with small payday advances or emergency loans to help bridge the gap. These loans can either be repaid over time, or in the case of PayActiv, workers can use the money they have already earned at work. These startups keep employees from resorting to predatory payday loan companies.
Though these options can be extremely beneficial for employees, the adoption is still relatively low. A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management shows 11 percent of businesses now offer pet insurance, while just 4 percent have student loan assistance options.
If you are struggling with debt, ask about debt relief options at your workplace. However, with low adoption, you may find your employer does not offer these benefits. If not, you should explore other options. Since debt causes stress, it is important you deal with it rather than ignoring it.
There are other options for debt relief
Depending on your debt, different options may work. You can try negotiating lower payments with your credit card company or selling some valuables to cover your bills. However, if you can no longer afford your bills, you may want to consider bankruptcy. Though bankruptcy has a stigma attached to it, filing for bankruptcy stops creditor harassment and may be the best way to eliminate or restructure your debt.