Debt is distracting American workers and it’s fixable

I’m fairly certain you’re living paycheck to paycheck right now. Sadly, 78% of Americans are in that boat with you. This financial strain is taking on water faster than Americans can bail it, destroying work culture and work productivity. But it’s also an area US companies can dramatically help their employees, explains Brian Hamilton, VP of Smart Dollar.

Employee debt is infecting the workplace and robbing productivity.

On The Justin Brady Show, Brian Hamilton, VP of Smart Dollar gave me the troubling data. Not only are 78% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, but 40% can’t cover a simple $400 emergency, and 55% have less than $10k saved for retirement. If you think this has no effect on your workforce and their productivity, you’re dead wrong. Companies literally no longer afford to not help in this area.

Brian Hamilton, VP of Smart Dollar
Listen to the interview with Brian Hamilton, VP of Smart Dollar

Today, 49% of employees are spending time at work on their personal finances and 72% report being stressed out enough to lose focus on work entirely. Not only are they stressed about work, but they are also actually working on it during the workday. These money problems are even impacting employees’ health decisions. Twelve percent of Americans have skipped needed doctor visits because of financial strain, and nine percent have considered skipping a doctor visit. Would a simple pay bump help them? Hamilton says nope.

Both the rich and poor are in the same boat

At first glance, this debt problem seems to have a simple solution. Companies that can afford it should just pay their people more. Or perhaps the government should send $1000 checks to people, as Andrew Yang explained to me in an earlier interview. Problem solved! But it’s not that simple.

Hamilton explained that rich people like surgeons or executives are shockingly in the same position as middle to lower class Americans. In fact, the richer you are in this country, the more debt you likely have. This means the second anything goes wrong, even wealthy folks find themselves drowning. As counter-intuitive as this may sound, money isn’t the problem. It’s the way we think about money, and THAT is fixable.


Brian Hamilton’s interview starts at 14:00

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Brian Hamilton, VP of Smart Dollar Tells Me What Employees Can Do

Hamilton is Vice President of Smart Dollar, a division of Ramsey Solutions, and he explained specifically how American companies can help their employees by offering classes and support as an employee benefit.

Smart Dollar was founded by radio host and creator of Financial Peace University, Dave Ramsey. Frequent listeners of The Justin Brady Show may recall my previous guest Chris Hogan is their resident retirement pro. (Listen to the full interview with Chris Hogan »)

Book sleeve of Everyday Millionaires, By Chris Hogan
Buy Everyday Millionaires, By Chris Hogan

The Smart Dollar program is a tailored version of Financial Peace University, but for the American workers, and offered through the workplace. There is a major fear of how bad it’s going to be to get out of debt, but those fears are misguided. “We get the average person who has 40, 50, 60k of consumer debt to pay off all of that in about 18-24 months,” explained Hamilton. “And then it’s really easy to save for emergencies and investing for retirement.”

First Steps

As an individual, if you want to take the first step to crush your debt, take the 3-minute free assessment. If you’re a company, sign up for Smart Dollar. With internal comms support, they typically see 20-40% of employees sign up in the first year! One of the biggest lines Hamilton hears over and over is “I feel like I got a raise.”


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Hey hot stuff,

I cultivate and amplify emerging tech stories to get them major media hits and develop fresh SEO-friendly content that ranks for coveted search terms. Sign up and I'll email you what took me years to learn. I believe this will help you to the degree you refer me or hire me. :)

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