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Financial Fitness: A Key Component of Worksite Wellness

Employee financial security crashed along with the world economy in 2008. Since that time employees have struggled to meet their financial obligations causing stress, anxiety, and depression. This is not only bad for the employee but it also negatively impacts the employer. A workforce stressed out by money is not only unhealthy but also less productive and less engaged.According to the “Personal Finance Employee Education Foundation”, Americans who are able to handle their finances well have significantly dropped from 42 percent down to 24 percent between 2006-2012. 

Employees need to know how to improve their overall financial success and save for specific costs, such as retirement. According to the American Savings Education Council’s 2012 Retirement Confidence Survey of Americans 25 and over, only 19% of workers feel that they are doing a good job at preparing financially for retirement and just two-thirds (66%) report that they are saving for retirement.    

Workplace programs can have a tremendous impact on helping employees improve both their short-term and long-term financial standing.  Worksite financial wellness programs should look at how all the pieces of an individual’s financial life fit together. Today, education programs that focus on financial well-being have become more popular and prominent within progressive organizations.  According to Barbara Kontje of American Express, their ongoing workplace financial literacy program has resulted in a 7% increase in 401(K) participation and those deferring 5% or more increased from 72% to 80%.  Their tactics include a dedicated website, on-site fairs, one-on-one counseling sessions and employee challenges.   

You can start adding financial wellness to your health and wellness programs with limited or no budget:

  • Tap into your existing resources. Most EAPs offer one-on-one financial counseling and, if local, often will come to your worksite for a lunch-n-learn session. Talk with your 401(k) vendor about enhanced on-site financial planning sessions throughout the year to increase financial well-being and 401(k) participation.
  • Consider finding a credit union your employees could join and see if they will come in and offer lunch-n-learns or provide webinars or videos if lunch time isn’t feasible. This is a great strategy for smaller employers. 
  • Add financial wellness articles to your company newsletter or on your intranet. Here are some resources:

Be sure to ask you employees what they want to learn to ensure you’re providing the information needed.   

Click here to read MBGH's earlier blog post on the importance of financial wellness at the worksite.

Article References: 

http://www.financial-planning.com/news/insurance/financial-wellness-employee-perks-an-opportunity-for-advisors-2690421-1.html 

http://blog.aicpa.org/2012/04/are-your-employees-financially-fit.html#sthash.iuZo6kPP.dpbs

Posted by Tara Hill at 8:14 AM

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