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MAY 2016


Course Details
Subject Code : BFI 2103


Course of Study : BACHELOR OF FINANCE (Hons)

Year & Semester : YEAR 2 SEM 3

Lecturer’s Name : DR.JEFFEREY

Assignment Details

Due Date : 25th July 2016

Students’ Details

1. Name and Matric Number : 1 DHIVYANANTHINI KANDASAMY (BFI 01583)





Assignment Overall Marks : _______________ Marks.

RESEARCH OVERVIEW…………………………….....
1.0 Introduction ……………………………………………...
1.1 Research Background….…………………………………
1.2 Problem Statement ……………………………………….
1.3 Research Objectives……………………………………....
1.3.1General Research Objectives…………………………….
1.3.2 Specific Research Objectives………………………….…
1.4 Research Questions………………………………….……
1.4.1 General Research Objectives…………………………..
1.4.2 Specific Research Objectives……………………………
1.5 Hypothesis of the Study………………………………….
1.6 Significance of the Study…………………………………
1.8 Conclusion………………………………………………..
LITERATURE REVIEW………………………………...
2.0 Introduction………………………………………………
2.1 Review of the Literature………………………………….
2.1.1 Dependent Variable– Financial distress….…...
2.1.2 1st Independent Variable– Financial Knowledge....
2.1.3 2nd Independent Variable – Debt…………...
2.1.4 3rd Independent Variable– Demographic……………..
2.1.5 4th Independent Variable– Financial satisfaction……………..
2.1.6 5th Independent Variable – Monthly Income………………..
2.2 Review of Theoretical Models………………………......
2.3 Proposed Conceptual Framework……............
3.0 Introduction……………………………………………....
3.1 Research Design…………………………………………..
3.2 Data Collection Methods……………………………........
3.2.1 Primary Data…………………………………..
3.3 Sampling Design……………………………………….....
3.3.1 Target Population………………………………
3.3.2 Sampling Technique…………………………...
3.3.3 Sampling Size…………………………….........
3.4 Variable and Measure………………………………………
3.5 Proposed data analysis and technique…………………
3.5.1 Descriptive Analysis………………………...
3.5.2 Pearson Correlation Analysis………………………….
1.0 Introduction
Chapter one aims to introduce the outline of the research topic. The background of the study
is stated initially and followed by explaining of problem statement, defining research
objectives and research questions, set up of relevant hypothesis and discussion of the
significance of study. Lastly, this chapter will be concluding with an outline of each chapter
of the research.

1.1 Research Background

Financial distress is an emotional or physical anxiety, and stress state of universal
financial welfare. According to Garman, 2004 having financial distress among
employees at workplace due to receiving notices from creditors, inadequate to
protection fund and worrying to prepared financially for key life events. Financial
distress among employees at workplace was established in a variation of ways. Work
execution, labourer efficiency, lateness, truancy, conservation turnover, work
obligation, work fulfilment, resolve and dedication are human achievement indicators
of worker results at working environments. Most of the employees thinking about
their personal financial problem at work place. Because of this problem, people
unable to take their duties, less workload. Therefore financial distress negatively
impacts employers at workplace. According to Malaysia newspaper report, there is a
many cases which is associated to financial distress such as loan sharks and credit
card bankruptcies. This paper tries to examine the presence of financial distress
among our society particularly employees and propose some helpful steps to control
the problem.
1.2 Problem Statement
We discover that the issue of financial distress has been viral to study about the factors
that causes financial distress among employees. Limited studies examine there are few
factors influencing financial distress. Those factors stated in this project are monthly
income (Lenore A. Epstein), financial satisfaction (Kristy L. Archuleta, Anita Dale, and
Scott M. Spann), financial knowledge (Remund,2010), demography (Kristy L.
Archuleta, Anita Dale, and Scott M. Spann) and debt (Kristy L. Archuleta, Anita
Dale, and Scott M. Spann) which are our factors to influence financial distress. Apart
from that, bankruptcy and loan shark also factors that influences financial distress.
According to “More Malaysian Declared to be Bankrupt”, says daily/ The Malaysian
Insider, bankruptcy have been proven mostly among young workers that have borrowed
personal loan, and have excess credit card but are not capable of paying as their earnings
are not same as their lifestyles. Based on “Rapid rise in loan shark cases”, The Sun
Daily, MCA Public Services and Complaints Department have receive tons of reports
relating to debts in which some of the victims suicide or become mentally unstable due
to loan shark harassment.

1.3 Research Objectives

1.3.1 General Objectives

The general aim of this research is to study the determinants of financial distress among

1.3.2 Specific Objectives

i. To study the relationship between financial literacy and financial distress among
ii. To examine the relationship between debt and financial distress among the
iii. To determine the relationship between demographic and financial distress among the
iv. To investigate the relationship of financial satisfaction and financial distress among
v. To study the relationship between monthly income and financial distress among
1.4 Research Questions
1.4.1 General Research Objectives

The general aim of this research is to study the determinants of financial distress among

1.4.2 Specific Research Question

i. Does financial knowledge has any relationship towards financial distress among
ii. Does debt has any relationship towards financial distress among employees?
iii. Does demographic has any relationship towards financial distress among
iv. Does financial satisfaction has any relationship towards financial distress among
v. Does monthly income has any relationship towards financial distress among

1.5 Hypothesis of the Study

The following hypotheses have been developed for this study:

H1: There is a significant relationship between financial literacy and financial distress among

H2: There is a significant relationship between debt and financial distress among employees.

H3: There is a significant relationship between demographic and financial distress among

H4: There is a significant relationship between financial satisfaction and financial distress
among employees.

H5: There is a significant relationship between monthly income and financial distress among
1.6 Significant of study

This study can contribute to the better understanding for lower employee’s productivity at
workplace in terms of financial knowledge, debt, demographic, financial satisfaction so that it
leads to the financial distress which emphasizes that the workers are strongly encouraged
This study creates awareness and gives information about their employees financial distress
levels, whether are the employees financially distressed or not. Thus, in this research can help
the employers to overcome financial distress among their employees in their workplace.
According to Mark Attridge (2009) states that employers change their working place to be a
positive environment and solves on the issues that arises by their employees through frequent
communication. Good communication with employers is important for help with personal
financial issues.


This study can be helpful to the government as they can seek better ways to eliminate off the
bankruptcy and financial blacklisted citizens. This research can help the government to force
whether those people working in the private sector and government sector are financially
distressed. Thus, the government can take the initiative steps to create awareness among
citizens. According to Mokhriz Mokhtar (2015) mentioned that the Central Bank of Malaysia
and the management of AKPK aspects to solve 10,000 cases under its debt management
program (DMP) by the end of 2016.
2.0 Introduction

This chapter is to explains about the theory which is applied for the research project and
determine how each independent variable affects the dependent variable by studying past
literatures related to the topic we have chosen. This chapter also includes a proposed
conceptual framework for the research and hypothesis to be tested. Our research focused
on five independent variables which are financial knowledge, debt, demographic,
financial satisfaction and monthly income.

2.1 Review of the Literature

2.1.1 Dependent Variable – Financial distress

According to Adeyemi (2011), financial distress is defined as situation in which an institution

is having operational, managerial and financial difficulties. According to Pandey (2005)
financial distress happens when a firm is not able to meet its obligations. To conclude, it is
argued that financial distress defines as the inability of a firm to pay its current obligations on
the dates they are due (Jahur, 2012).

2.1.1 1st Independent Variable – Financial knowledge

According to Remund (2010), “financial literacy assesses an individual’s level of

understanding of the basic concepts of finance, and the individual’s capability and confidence
to manage his or her personal finances.” Moore (2003) and Huston (2009) explained that
financial literacy cannot be measured directly as there is no standard instrument used to
measure financial literacy; it must be acquired through practical experience and active
integration of knowledge. To conclude, financial literacy is an ability to understand on how
money works in the world; how people manage to earn, saves and how he or she contribute

Firstly, financial distress at the workplace is caused by the employees’ own financial
problem. According to Attridge (2009), stated that employees own financial problem feels
extremely concerned by the American workers, numbering at 61% based on Kaiser Family
Foundation survey in 2008. Most of the employees are having financial problem because of
primary skill-based and absence of understanding on how to manage, save and invest money.
Attridge (2009) also concluded that financial management skill are not trained by the
American workers and they are having lack of knowledge based on National Foundation for
Credit Counselling survey. Therefore, an effective financial education should be placed in
order to educate employee to make better financial management and decision to improve
their own financial situation.

Lack of financial knowledge also will bring negative influence to the employees that lead to
financial distress at the workplace which could affect their productivity. Chen and Volpe
(1998) stated that there is a universal lacking of financial knowledge among the employees of
all ages. According to Joo (1998) it was concluded that the low level of financial knowledge
can lead workers to practice financial distress. Low financial knowledge and information give
rich ground to financial mistakes. Moreover, lack of knowledge and skills to handle personal
finance will intensify the stressor which leads to financial distress that can impact the
employees’ personal life and worker production (Garman, Leech, & Grable, 1996). Hence,
this personal financial mistakes and careless behaviour will to thoughtful difficult that
negatively influence the employer’s

Furthermore, financial problems result from unexpected changes which require revaluation of
the use of resources. Williams (1982), stated that precise circumstances that cause financial
stress includes, underestimating expenses because of inexperience or lack of financial
knowledge. According to Garman and forgue, (2000) have stated financial knowledge as
understanding the ethics and terminology required for a effective management of personal
financial concerns. Hence, Vitt et al. (2000), the best improvement of financial literacy
education is reducing workers’ financial problems and encouraging them to be liable for their
own financing and both will help increasing the productivity of the organization.

In the nutshell, financial literacy or financial knowledge will causes the workers financial
distress. To overcome this issues all the worker should be responsible in handing their money
wisely and do encouraging to solve their personal financial problem.
2.1.3 1st Independent Variable – Debt

According to Ana Del-Rio (2005), unsecured borrowing by British households,

mostly in the form of personal loans, overdrafts and credit cards, has grown rapidly over the
past decade. This has led to widespread concerns that many households have taken on more
debt than they can easily afford. We examine how attitudes to debt are related to survey
measures of the amount of debt that people have and its affordability.

There is a clear relation between financial distress and indicators of the affordability
of debt. It was suggested that the main determinant of debt problems is the unsecured debt to
income ratio. There is no strong idea at which debt becomes a problem, but according to
Garry Young (2005) the most important factors affecting the likelihood of a household
reporting debt to be somewhat of a burden in 2000 were the level of mortgage income
gearing, the level of financial wealth of the household, their health, ethnicity and marital
status. Having mortgage income gearing above 20% of income added about 9 percentage
points to the probability of reporting debt to be somewhat of a burden. Being unemployed
was also associated with a higher probability of reporting debt problems. The increased
quantity of unsecured debt taken on by these groups meant that they were more likely to face
problems and be exposed to potential shocks in their income and interest rates.

During financial distress, a company faces two possible clashes. This can be defined
either as a cash shortage on the assets side of the balance sheet, or as a debt overhang in
liabilities. This forces companies into negotiations with creditors about the conditions of
deferment on their debt repayment during the ensuing period of distressed restructuring.
Natalia Outecheva (2007).

Garry Young and Ana de Rio(2005) states that apart from mortgages and housing
related loans unsecured debt in the BHPS covers financial commitments. Credit card and
other bills being paid off in full in the month of the interview are specifically omitted. Each
respondent are shown a card instigating them about which forms of debt instruments they are
using. In conclusion, financial distress is linked to economic distress within the operational
management that leads to mortgaging the business to get more loans form the creditors in
order to overcome the period of debt.
2.1.4 1st Independent Variable – Demographic

According to Kristy L. Archuleta, Anita Dale, and Scott M. Spann financial distress can be
caused to different age groups. This means that financial distress is more common among
young adults than older adults. This is so because young adults are more likely to indulge in
debts for a better way of living and a better lifestyle but at the end they end up facing
financial distress as maybe most probably they are not having enough income to settle their
debt payments and so have to financial distress.

Furthermore gender may be one of those who face financial distress. Different gender has
different level of financial distress. For instance women may face more financial distress than
men. This is so because women have a tendency to purchase more than men and they end up
facing financial distress. Women are influenced by the massive advertising done on social
networks and Medias and so they involve themselves in impulse buying and at the end they
spend more than they should and so face financial distress. Women have a tendency to use
credit cards more than men as they do more shopping than men. By using more credit cards
they are exposing themselves to more debt credibility and financial distress is more likely to
happen. Women sometimes spend more than what they earn in their income at work.

Moreover many studies have studied wealth differences based on race and ethnicity (for
example Grable & Joo, 2006; Harrison, Edlund, & Larson, 2005; Mossakowski, 2008; Yao,
Gutter, & Hanna, 2005). For instance Grable and Joo (2006) found that the African and
American students had more tendency to have higher amounts of credit card debt and face
more levels of financial distress than other students. Regarding marital status, Robb and
Sharpe’s (2009) study found married students had unique debt features. To be more precise
married students were found to carry larger balances versus single students but were found to
be no more likely to revolve credit balances. Marital status was also found to be a factor in
financial practices such as having a written budget, keeping bills and receipts, planning
spending, shopping with a list, and saving regularly according to Hayhoe et al., 2000.
2.1.5 1st Independent Variable – Financial Satisfaction

Another financial distress factor is financial satisfaction. Financial satisfaction is well-being

and satisfaction of overall psychological. It measures individual’s satisfaction with their
finance related situation. Financial satisfaction is ones’ satisfaction on income and capability
of handling his or her financial expenses including paying debts, savings, use for basic needs
and other emergencies and for future use. There are factors that influences no matter directly
or indirectly the financial satisfaction among individuals. Those factors are individual
income, knowledge level on finance and marital stress and other financial related problems.
(Kristy L. Archuleta, Anita Dale, and Scott M. Spann)

According to Kristy L. Archuleta, John E. Grable, and Sonya L. Britt, financial satisfaction is
related to one’s financial situation. It includes determination of financial expenses like debt
level, savings, income, and other future goal achievement. Marital relationship can reduce
financial satisfaction. An ability of an individual to manage their personal financing can
affect relationships. Arguments between couple relates to financial management like how
does their partner manage the money instead of asking how much they had. Couples that
discuss their finance related problems are more satisfied with their financial situation.
Couples that are faithful in relationship tend to have positive financial attitude and
communication will increase financial satisfaction level. It can be concluded that people who
have higher financial satisfaction will less likely have financial problems and this will lead to
relationship satisfaction.

Based on Marzieh Kalantarie Taft, Zare Zardeini Hosein, Seyyed Mohammad Tabatabaei
Mehrizi & Abdoreza Roshan, financial satisfaction situation can be in different environment
including home, finance, business, and health. Welfare is defined economic, politic, physical,
emotional, environment and spiritual factors. Financial satisfaction can be measured based on
income level and assets. It can also be defined as satisfaction feeling one’s own with his or
her finance status. The concept of financial satisfaction varies based on people’s perception.
Currently, financial satisfaction is measured based a person’s capability to achieve their basic
needs, feeling of secured and well satisfied with income. Feeling of secured or safety is to
have protection from economic risks such as poverty, unemployment, inflation and others.
Physical aspects of to measure financial satisfaction is by goods consumption, savings,
income level, socioeconomic status and so on. Subjective is a method to determine a person’s
financial resources amount to measure their financial wellbeing. Other subjective
measurements can be condition of living or job, finances and social life of an individual.

2.1.6 1st Independent Variable – Monthly Income

As stated by Lenore A. Epstein (1959), to be a child in a family with insufficient wage

frequently intends to be a youngster deprived of the sorts of nourishment he needs to develop
to healthy adulthood. It frequently implies living in overcrowded quarters, with no proper
place to play; going without preventive health care; and having little chance for more than a
secondary school education. According to Lenore A. Epstein, low income defines poor
nutrition, poor housing, and little or no preventive medical care. The facts barely require
documentation, but the suffered faced by these low income families have been made clear by
various studies.

According to Lenore A. Epstein (1959), a clear relationship between family income and the
quantities of nutrients provided by the diet of non-farm families was found by the Department
of Agriculture in its 1955 Household Food Consumption Survey.

According to Attridge (2009), income stagnation is among one of the factors that affect
monthly income. This means that, with large general economic trends in the social
environment and the income remain stagnant. Moreover, that income remaining consent and
a rise inflation will make that actual take-home pay less. Thus , this create monthly income
distress on the employee and increase the chances of taking additional personal debt, home
equity loans and credit obligation or additional part time job.

According to Attridge (2009), life event is one of the factor that affect financial distress
among employees. The major life event and emergency will lessoned personal saving and the
opportunity to obtain is enough income. Therefore, this factor will lead to financial distress in
the income of people.

According to Attridge (2009), monthly income distress may be cause by psychological factor
due to impulse buying which is highly influence by advertising and marketing tactics.
According to Williams 1993, consumer debt is the factor that influences on monthly income
distress. This is so because, less income implies less money for spending and thus causing
that employees using higher purchasing power.
2.2 Review of Theoretical Model

Maslow hierarchy of human needs can be used to relate financial knowledge. Maslow was
concerned with trying to identify and classify the main needs that human have. This means
that what the different categories are of needs human have. According to Maslow hierarchy
of needs there are five (5) levels of needs which are basic needs, safety needs, social needs,
esteem needs and self- actualisation. Financial knowledge can be classified as safety needs.
This means financial knowledge is considered as safety needs as when one has financial
knowledge he/she feels more safe about the job and feel protected from when there
is financial knowledge one will feel less threatened about the job and may feel more secured
about the job and hence financial distress may not happen.

Debt can be place under the level of safety in the Maslow‘s Hierarchy of Needs. Employees
tend to focus on their payments for large instalment loans first. For example paying for their
cars, house and their debts (credit card). They are given the choice between reverting on their
mortgage and on their credit cards. Normally employees always choose to default on their
credit card. This suit with the conventional logic that mortgage payments should be
prioritised first because the house is the most valued asset that most consumer own.

Demography can be related to Maslow hierarchy of needs. This means that by demographic
we can mean ethnic groups. That is ethnics groups can be classified as part of the social
needs. It is a social need as the different ethnics groups present should feel that they are
accepted and if ever they face any financial distress they may feel that they are not being
accepted by the society and may not be able to fulfil the social needs criteria for Maslow
hierarchy of needs. Social needs also can mean to belong t o a group. So when an individual
belongs to a specific group or be part of any group he/she is said to be achieving the social
needs aspect. However if an individual is facing financial distress he/she may feel that he/she
can’t be part of any group and hence the social needs aspect may not be fulfilled.

Financial satisfaction can be related to the Maslow theory of human needs. Financial
satisfaction can be classified as part of the self – actualisation needs. Self-actualisation means
that the highest level of needs where one reaches his/ her full potential. So when an
individual is financially satisfied it can be meant that he/she has fulfilled his / her self-
actualisation needs as he/she is already having financial satisfaction.
Maslow theory can be used to relate monthly income with basic needs. Basic needs refers to
all the needs that an individual must have to be able to survive. For an individual to survive
he/she must has a monthly income to be able to satisfy his/ her basic needs of life. Without
monthly income one cannot satisfy his/ her essential needs and therefore will lead to financial
distress. Basic needs is the most important need that one should satisfies and to do so a
monthly income is important.

2.3 Proposed Conceptual Framework/ Research Model

Figure 2.2: Conceptual Model




Monthly Income

Chapter 3
3.0 Research methodology
3.1 Research design
The main purpose of this study is to examine on the determinants of financial distress among
employees. Survey is more preferable due to the large amount of data can be produced during
a short period (Kelley, Clark, Brown & Sitzia, 2003) and deliver the results. Cross sectional
study is being used to collect data once on determinants of financial distress among
employees. The methodical plan of this research is to make a specific question, collecting and
recording of the evidence, which is derive from the literature review, processing and
analysing of the data journal of outcome. According to Zikmund 2003, research method is a
research that relies on the data collection techniques that’s user numerical data
Questionnaires will be used to carry out this study because it is an effective way to approach
a large target sample in low cost and conventional way.

3.2 Data collection method – Questionnaire

3.2.1 Primary Data

Primary data is the only one method of data collection used to conduct this study. The data
were collected through self-administered questionnaires that distributed by researcher to
convenience random sampling, which is a non-probability sampling technique where the
subjects are chosen because of the convenience accessibility and intimacy to the researcher.

3.3 Sampling design

3.3.1 Target population
Sekaran (2010) stated that necessary target population is the population of individual which
researcher is interested to investigate. Target population is define has how energetic
characteristics of the population respond to the questionnaire in this research. Target
population is significant is in this study because it has been explain well that the volume of
sampling and which is involve in the research.
For this research, the target population is set employees in their working sector. We selected
3 companies due to time constraint. Therefore this study conducted by selecting a sample of
the population to represent the whole population.

3.3.2 Sampling techniques

In this study the sampling technique we use to select the respondent is non-profitability
sampling techniques. Besides doing random selection non profitability technique samples
technique sample are chosen based on subjective judgement of the researcher. There are four
type of non-profitability sample under the sampling technique which are convenience
sampling, judgement sampling, quota sampling and snowball sampling. Convenience
sampling is used to collect information from number of the population, who are convenient to
prove the questionnaire.

3.3.3 Sampling size

As mentioned earlier, the companies that we chose are 3 companies. We are going to provide
250 questionnaire to the targeted respondent in the 3 companies. The evidence also confirms the
curvilinear effects of management on interests on firm’s value found by Morck et al. (1988) and Short
and Keasy (1999). This evidence reflects the importance of the ownership pattern in corporate
governance among Malaysian companies.

3.4 Variables and measure

A scale may be defined has any series of item that gradually due to value of magnitude
(zikmund 2003). There are many scale such has nominal scale, ordinal scale, ratio scale and
interval scale. In this research, researcher use the nominal, ordinal, interval scale.

Nominal scale is the simplest type of scale which number or letter of matters. Assign to
object serve as labels for identification in the questionnaire. In this research, there are some
question in this design based on nominal scale. Example question constructed using nominal
scale is stated below.
Gender : working
sector :

Male Government

Female Private / self


Moreover Ordinal scale, which the variable are classified in a way as to denote differences
among varies categories as well as rank-orders categories in some meaningful way. It also
provides more information than the nominal data. It is rank – order preferences, but thus not
give indication about the magnitude of difference among the rank.

Age :
Below 20 years

20 - 29 years old

30 - 39 years old

40 - 49 years old

50 years and

According to (zikmund 2010), interval scale has both nominal and ordinal properties, but
there also capture information about differences in quantities of the concept. Interval scale
does not have and besides zero. For example, number 1 is described as very dissatisfied and
number 10 is described as very satisfied. Below is the example of nominal scale:

Very 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Very
dissatisfied satisfied
3.5 proposed data analysis and technique
Data analysis is the procedure of significantly applying measurable or sensible strategy to
describe and show, gather and recap and assess information using Statistical Software
Package for Social Science, (SPSS)

In this research the data was collected by distributing the questionnaire to 250 respondents. It
was assessed by using SPSS system. The information gained to explain and make
assumptions on the impact financial distress towards the employees.

3.5.1 Descriptive Analysis

Descriptive analysis is used to review the characteristics of target respondent. It is aimed to

perform computation of frequency of the demographic backgrounds of the target respondents.
Moreover, there is also some of technique such as scale measurement, inferential analysis to
finalise the population from the sample data. Thus, describing demographics presents
meaningful data to be collected from suitable respondents.

3.5.2 Pearson Correlation Analysis

This analysis is used to compute the relationship between the financial satisfaction and the
financial distress and entire hypothesis is measured by using this analysis. Finally, the
multiple regression analysis used to measure the impact of difference independent variable on
one dependent variable.
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