23 February 2016

A Call for Financial Well-Being

Did you know that financially stressed employees spend 20 hours per month worrying about personal financial issues? And, that most employees live paycheck to paycheck? This type of financial stress has a direct impact on a company’s bottom line, and many companies have taken notice.

The good news is there’s something you can do: incorporate a financial wellness program at work. A financial wellness program can focus on anything financial, from creating a budget to saving for retirement, as long as it provides real value to employees.

Education helps employees learn how to be proactive about their financial health. But they’re just part of the equation. Employers are realizing that they, too, have an obligation to help employees transition in an ever-changing benefits landscape. Most employees don’t have a traditional pension plan at work, nor do they have fully funded health care or retiree medical insurance. They don’t even have a promise of long-term employment.

So what do you need to include in a financial wellness program?

Education. The best way to ensure financial wellness is through a well-designed education program that doesn’t include a sales pitch at the end of the program. For a financial wellness program to be truly valuable, it should also be considered an employee benefit, and it should be communicated to employees as such.

When employees are taught that making small changes now will make them financially more secure in the future, tackling financial problems doesn’t seem as overwhelming. This keeps them motivated to do more.

Measurable results. A sound financial wellness program also should focus on measurable behavioral changes, such as:

  • Reducing expenses.
  • Paying down debt.
  • Saving more for retirement.

Research shows that, after taking a financial wellness class, 89% of employees take at least one step to improve their finances within 30 days. And on average, employees begin reducing credit card debt, reviewing their 401k plan and using retirement calculators to determine whether they’re saving enough.

Communication. Any communication about a financial wellness program should tell employees that the program:

  • Is a valuable benefit.
  • Offers unbiased financial education.
  • Can help you manage your personal finances.

Financial wellness is huge this year. It isn’t going away any time soon. And with employers reaching a large number of the population, they are in the unique position of affecting real change.