When we think about our role as the University for Kentucky, the core of our mission is to serve—to equip those we touch and teach for lives of meaning and purpose.
We emphasize various components of well-being for our community, including academic success; belonging and engagement; physical and emotional wellness; and financial stability. Our colleagues in Human Resources provide a range of programming to address these components of wellness for our employees, from self-care workshops and wellness programming, to work-life initiatives, among others.
Throughout the month of April, in conjunction with national Financial Literacy month, we will engage with our employees about financial wellness.
A study released in 2015 by the American Psychological Association found that two of three Americans cited money as a major cause of stress in their lives, more than any other factor. Moreover, research suggests that the subject of money represents an uncomfortable topic for a majority of adults. The same study found that only 37 percent of adults talk with their family members about money often.
Financial well-being may sound like a complex construct. However, as outlined by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, it simply means “having financial security and financial freedom of choice, in the present and in the future.” There are four elements: feeling in control, capacity to absorb financial shock, being on track to meet goals, and having flexibility to make choices. Clearly, this is an area in which we have a lot of work to do, as a campus and as a country.
Against this backdrop, we hope to use this month to spread awareness of the resources available on our campus related to financial literacy and well-being.
To that end, employees can use these services to learn something as seemingly simple as creating a monthly budget (which, according to a 2013 Gallup poll, only a third of Americans do), or as advanced as developing a long-term financial plan.
And as an institution dedicated to supporting and empowering our people —and to propelling the position of our state—we want to support our employee’s overall well-being in every way we can.
I hope you will engage with us in this important conversation this month. Be on the look-out for opportunities to participate, learn, and grow.
Have a great week.
Eric N. Monday