Focusing on Financial Wellness

The term “wellness” has become an often over-used word in the workplace.  However, it seems the definition is frequently siloed into healthcare and overlooks overall wellness which includes financial wellness, amongst other lifestyle considerations.

A recent PwC study reflected 45% of working adults cite their finances as a stress factor in the workplace.  Another report by GoBankingRates.com reflects 69% of those surveyed had little or no savings, $1000 or less, with a large segment with $0 savings.

So why do employers need to focus on financial wellness?  A 2015 Harris Poll reflects 86% of employees think that it’s important for their employer to offer some kind of financial wellness program.

Below are some suggestions for Financial Wellness Strategies:

  • Retirement planning – perhaps the most common, 401(k) programs don’t have to include an employer match, just giving an employee access to such tools will get them going
  • Healthcare planning – education on the importance of FSAs, HSAs, selecting a PPO vs. EPO vs. HDHP plan (weighing out premiums to be paid and necessary benefits)
  • Cross-departmental task forces – use to define value of employer benefits and educate employees on how to define personal financial goals
  • Confidential employee financial self-assessment tools – surveys that help employees evaluate personal financial data (expenses, income), tax planning, employee benefits, retirement, family care, home buying, etc.
  • Credit report programs and tools
  • Fraud protection tools
  • College savings plans
  • Student loan education and repayment tools
  • Tracking tools for financial goals
  • Financial education (customized for individual employee needs)

Its important to monitor participation and the ROI for implementing various strategies.  One thing to remember, incentives drive adoption.  Incentives don’t have to be financial in nature, they can simply be defined through expanded learning opportunities and access to additional tools and resources. 

After all, Knowledge is Power!