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'Stimulus' Checks: Scratching the Surface of Financial Uncertainty - with Darcy Tuer

'Stimulus' Checks: Scratching the Surface of Financial Uncertainty - with Darcy Tuer

January 18, 2021 in Employer,HR,Thought Leadership

'Stimulus' Checks: Scratching the Surface of Financial Uncertainty - with Darcy Tuer

January 18, 2021 in , ,

I started 2021 with my usual case of naive optimism. Intellectually, I know that January 1st is a man-made construct that isn't going to impact a pandemic, nor lessen the devastation that the world experienced in 2020. That being said, those that know me will say that I am hopelessly positive. 

The rollercoaster of 2020, had instilled me with some wisdom that I was excited to take into this new year. I was aware that more than 85% of American households were receiving checks in January to help stimulate the economy. "Stimulate" is the wrong word, given the number of business closures and lockdowns, combined with the huge percentage of Americans suffering from food scarcity, not to mention the number of people at risk of eviction or foreclosure. If we're honest, the payments are for disaster relief, and likely came late for those on the brink of personal financial ruin.

I'll be honest, 2021 has already surprised my optimistic self. The number of employees relying on our Wages On-Demand benefit dipped briefly, along with our transaction volumes; a blip that coincided with the "stimulus" checks being sent out to households across the US. 

We have an incredible team at ZayZoon and we monitor the health and growth of our business very closely. Beyond the traditional metrics, we're socially minded and were surprised by the impact the "stimulus" checks had on ZayZoon. The tight correlation between these checks and our volumes indicates how close to the surface financial uncertainty is for a vast number of Americans. It certainly showed that the impact payments were a point-in-time solution and don't come close to addressing the macro issues.

When you build a business, especially now, financial sustainability is top-of-mind. That can be achieved through a combination of growth, favorable unit economics and cost management...not to mention, building great products that solve important problems for a large addressable market. Our mission at ZayZoon is to improve the health of employees through responsible financial products. The financial sustainability of our customers is central to our mission and if we, along with other key stakeholders such as employers, don't start prioritizing this issue, the financial pandemic will persist beyond our memories of COVID.

To achieve our mission, we require employers to take action. I would argue that their employees are their most important assets; however, as leaders we often take our employees for granted as we focus on driving growth, optimizing our business model and focusing on our bottom line. Today, most employees are interested in how they can improve budgeting, manage their savings, pay off their debt, and deal with unexpected expenses, and still somehow plan for retirement. In the US, 99.7% of employers are small businesses and don't know they have the means to provide employee wellness, nor that it's important for them. We believe that financial wellness should be at the core of employee benefits, and we’re excited to work with employers of all sizes to improve the health of their employees while doing our part to help create financial sustainability for Americans.

I personally invite employers to explore what they can do to be part of the larger solution that will enhance their recruitment, retention, productivity, and so much more, but most importantly, the health and wellbeing of their most precious resource: their people.

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About The Author: Darcy Tuer

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