Financial Wellness Programs Are on the Rise. Does Your Employer Offer This Benefit?

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Financial resources are being redefined as a benefit for the rank-and-file, not just the executive team.

Key points

  • Financial wellness includes worksite financial planning, seminars, and a suite of technological resources.
  • Who really needs this stuff? Nearly everyone, it seems.
  • Worksite financial planning benefits employers and employees by increasing job satisfaction and more.

The term "financial wellness program" has a broad definition, and varies wildly from employer to employer. Generally, these programs can be divided into two camps: dynamic and static.

Dynamic programs are personalized and support a wide variety of employee circumstances. These include worksite financial planning, where a planner goes to a jobsite, employee assistance programs, where an employee can call an 800 number, or discounts on advisory services. Dynamic programs work well to initiate individualized, lasting change.

Static programs are less customized and much more popular. An example of a static program might be a seminar about retirement planning, a brochure about saving, or an online calculator. Static programs are scalable and work well when most employees face similar financial challenges.

Who needs financial planning?

There is a common misconception among Americans that you need money in order to have access to financial services. This belief may have come about by financial institutions commonly serving wealthy investors. However, the financial advisory industry has recently begun to shift to serve a wider range of clients by charging subscription fees and selling advice, not investments. With this change in the industry comes new opportunities for workers young and old, with many assets or few, to strengthen their financial futures.

Even employers are beginning to understand the benefits of offering financial wellness programs to their employees. By providing financial benefits to more than company executives, employers are recognizing their vested interest in their employees’ financial wellbeing and reaping the rewards for providing financial support.

Benefits go both ways

Financial wellness benefits represent a win-win situation for employees and employers alike. While employees receive the obvious benefits of financial literacy and confidence approaching personal finance decisions, employers are rewarded with the benefit of a more satisfied workforce.

Employers offer income, insurance, and retirement savings plans, so they should offer the financial guidance to optimally use them, some employees think. Employer-sponsored programs can be a source of emotional and practical support when it comes to understanding the principles of personal finance. When financial wellness programs are implemented, employees are equipped with the knowledge and tools they need to answer life’s biggest money questions.

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Every year, millions of dollars in employee productivity are lost due to finance-related stress among employees. Implementing financial wellness programs may be a way to mitigate that financial burden. However, arguably greater benefits come from higher employee satisfaction, such as increased retention rates. And when it comes time to fill roles, employers with a financial wellness program may appear more attractive to job seekers.

When it comes to financial wellness programs in the workplace, what’s good for one is good for all. Offering financial resources to employees appears to be a win-win situation.

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