The financial wellness industry is growing rapidly, with new firms and products cropping up quickly. According to a 2016 “Employee Financial Wellness Survey” from PricewaterhouseCoopers, 40% of employees find it difficult to meet their monthly household expenses on time, with 28% reporting that “personal finances have been a distraction at work.” With such discouraging statistics, it’s easy to understand why this area is a growing concern for employers.
Financial wellness programs are designed to help employees take hold of their financial situation by supporting their efforts to save for emergencies, pay down debt, build a retirement nest egg and maintain a standard of living that’s in line with their income levels and long-term goals. Typical offerings include (one or numerous) tools, guidance, educational content, and services.
As employers have evolved to begin offering preventative, wellness services for health care, so too are they now evolving to offer preventative services for financial wellness, thereby addressing the root of financial issues and arming employees for long-term success.
When considering whether to add such a program, plan sponsors should assess:
- The existing benefits available to employees, including which aspects of financial wellness may be lacking,
- Employee behavior, including the need for such support,
- The goal the organization is aiming to accomplish by adding this type of benefit,
- The qualifications, experience and features of financial wellness provider candidates,
- The fees and compensation involved (particularly in light of the services being rendered), and
- The time, resources and processes required for monitoring a financial wellness provider’s effectiveness in meeting expectations.
By offering a financial wellness program, companies may be able to attract and retain a broader base of employees, improve the productivity of their existing workforce and strengthen their existing retirement programs.