Study Links Financial Well-Being With Community Involvement
A poll by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (Mass Mutual) concludes that Americans who are involved in various communities not only find it personally gratifying, but financially rewarding as well. Forty eight percent agree that community participation improves their finances, and nearly seven in 10 (69 percent) say that community involvement is important to their overall well-being.
This new body of research – You Get What You Give: The Mass Mutual 2018 Financial Wellness and Community Involvement Study – examines the intersection of community participation and financial well-being and strongly demonstrates that community involvement strengthens confidence in financial security.
"Mass Mutual began out of a concern for community in 1851, when our founders first started offering coverage to help their neighbors secure their future and protect the ones they love," said Roger Crandall, Mass Mutual chairman, president and chief executive officer. "More than a century and a half later, we are still driven by that same purpose, and this study shows it is more relevant than ever. Our research clearly indicates that by Living Mutual — coming together and relying on each other — we can make our communities stronger and our lives more secure and fulfilling."
Tough times: Regardless, people find ways to be more secure, happier, and fulfilled.
Despite continuing economic improvement, the study highlights how Americans have not put financial uncertainty and volatility behind them. In fact, approximately four in 10 Americans feel anxious about their current and future financial security and think about their financial well-being daily. Yet, indicative of Americans’ community values, more than half (53 percent) report that they have supported someone in their community in a time of financial stress, and 25 percent have been supported by others in their community during a time of need.
The results come as no surprise to Dennis Duquette, Mass Mutual’s head of community responsibility and president of the Mass Mutual Foundation. "Naturally, we all revere the concept of independence because it’s the foundation of what started the great American experiment more than 240 years ago," he said. "What truly built this nation over the years was people from all walks of life coming together to create a better, more secure life for themselves, their loved ones and their communities at large. That same spirit remains very much alive, as so many clearly recognize that we do get back what we give."
Community: More than a place- and more than an online connection.
Americans clearly choose to make time for others. Nearly all Americans (95 percent) reported that they are involved in at least one community. Most are involved in a community with their family (86 percent), friend group (65 percent) or neighborhood (50 percent). Those who place a premium on community involvement have unexpected benefits, with approximately six in 10 being either comfortable or confident in their current and future financial well-being.
Interestingly, Americans do not share the same definition of community. Respondents defined community in multiple ways, including geography (81 percent), values (45 percent), culture (40 percent) and lifestyle (36 percent).
Community is also no longer just a physical thing; Americans are connecting with communities both online and in-person. Most surprising in today’s digital world, regardless of age, Americans interact with their communities in-person, with the exception of political and interest-related communities.
No matter how they define community or participate in it, Americans agree that involvement in a community impacts multiple aspects of their lives. A majority report that community participation improves their social and family lives (88 percent and 82 percent, respectively).
PSB conducted the research online from Sept. 7-28, 2017, using a nationally representative sample of 10,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and above. Results are nationally representative of age, gender, race, ethnicity and education.
This article appeared in Advisor Today.