Fi­nan­cial well­ness ‘must have’ ben­e­fit

Employee Benefit News - - CONTENTS - BY NICK OTTO

More em­ploy­ers are de­vel­op­ing pro­grams to help em­ploy­ees plan for re­tire­ment.

FI­NAN­CIAL WELL­NESS PRO­GRAMS ARE ce­ment­ing their place in work­place ben­e­fit plans, but chal­lenges re­main for em­ploy­ers in defin­ing what fi­nan­cial well-be­ing means.

While fi­nan­cial well­ness pro­grams have not reached the level of pen­e­tra­tion seen with other long-stand­ing ben­e­fit of­fer­ings, 52% of em­ploy­ers said they have im­ple­mented, or are con­sid­er­ing im­ple­ment­ing, a well­ness pro­gram, ac­cord­ing to a new sur­vey from Charles Sch­wab.

Fur­ther, 44% be­lieve that a fi­nan­cial well­ness pro­gram is be­com­ing a “must-have” ben­e­fit for them to be com­pet­i­tive, the re­port says.

“Fi­nan­cial well­ness is very per­sonal for each em­ployee, and em­ploy­ers need to be mind­ful of that when im­ple­ment­ing a new pro­gram,” says Nate Bid­ner, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Sch­wab Work­place Fi­nan­cial So­lu­tions.

Gen­er­ally, em­ploy­ers are defin­ing fi­nan­cial well­ness for em­ploy­ees as bet­ter fi­nan­cial out­comes and a re­duc­tion in fi­nan­cial stress as a re­sult of em­ploy­ees tak­ing own­er­ship of their fi­nan­cial well-be­ing, Charles Sch­wab says.

Ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey, most em­ploy­ers be­lieve a high-qual­ity well­ness pro­gram should:

• Of­fer broad guid­ance on per­sonal fi­nan­cial man­age­ment prin­ci­ples, in­clud­ing goals-based plan­ning, sav­ings fun­da­men­tals, debt man­age­ment and as­set al­lo­ca­tion.

Pro­vide an on­line con­tent por­tal for ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion and as­sess­ment tools.

Fully in­te­grate the pro­gram with ex­ist­ing ben­e­fits and com­pen­sa­tion pack­ages.

Demon­strate a mea­sur­able im­pact on re­tire­ment plan us­age and re­tire­ment readi­ness.

“While gen­eral ed­u­ca­tion and tools are use­ful for a broad cross-sec­tion of em­ploy­ees, the real task is to get them en­gaged and mo­ti­vated to uti­lize the re­sources avail­able,” Bid­ner says, not­ing that 70% of work­ers want per­son­al­ized 401(k) ad­vice. • • •

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