IBM merges re­tire­ment, fi­nan­cial plan­ning

Employee Benefit News - - CONTENTS - BY PAULA AVEN GLADYCH

The com­pany worked with Well­tok to cre­ate a pro­gram that aims to help em­ploy­ees with their fi­nances.

HAV­ING GREAT BEN­E­FITS ISN’T JUST about hav­ing a good health­care pro­gram or 401(k) plan any­more, says Ellen Exum, vice pres­i­dent of global health and well­ness strat­egy at IBM. It means tack­ling fi­nan­cial stress, as well.

That’s why IBM hired Well­tok, a soft­ware as a ser­vice provider that helps com­pa­nies pro­vide multi-chan­nel en­gage­ment ser­vices, re­sources, re­wards and pre­dic­tive an­a­lyt­ics for var­i­ous health and fi­nan­cial well­ness ben­e­fits. Many com­pa­nies think of fi­nan­cial well-be­ing as hav­ing a 401(k), in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties or stock pur­chase pro­grams. IBM of­fers all of those ben­e­fits, but when it thinks about fi­nan­cial well-be­ing, it thinks about the sup­port it can of­fer, based on what in­di­vid­u­als need, to help them ful­fill their fi­nan­cial well­ness needs, Exum says.

“It’s not about how much you have in your bank ac­count but help­ing you un­der­stand how much you have, how much you need and how to get from point A to point B,” she says. “It also helps sup­port you in what you are go­ing to spend it on and how fre­quently you will spend it.”

The Well­tok sys­tem al­lows em­ploy­ees to give a thumbs up or thumbs down on any con­tent pro­vided. Em­ploy­ees can give real-time feed­back on any of the ben­e­fits pro­grams that IBM of­fers. In re­sponse, IBM holds meet­ings mul­ti­ple times a year to un­der­stand that feed­back and ad­just their pro­grams ac­cord­ingly, Exum says.

Em­ploy­ees are el­i­gi­ble to par­tic­i­pate in IBM’s 401(k) plan on the date they are hired. They are au­to­mat­i­cally en­rolled at 5% of their pre-tax el­i­gi­ble earn­ings about one month af­ter re­ceiv­ing their en­roll­ment pack­age if no ac­tion is taken.

Af­ter one year of ser­vice, the com­pany will con­trib­ute 1% to each em­ployee’s pre-tax ac­count re­gard­less of their sav­ings pat­tern and match 100% of the first 5% of em­ployee’s pre-tax or Roth con­tri­bu­tions.

The com­pany also has its IBM Money Smart pro­gram, which of­fers fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion and plan­ning to help em­ploy­ees with fi­nan­cial de­ci­sion-mak­ing on a range of is­sues, in­clud­ing re­tire­ment and es­tate plan­ning, debt man­age­ment, col­lege sav­ings, tax and in­vest­ment strate­gies and other top­ics. It is of­fered at no cost to all IBM U.S. reg­u­lar em­ploy­ees and is pro­vided through The Ayco Com­pany, a Goldman Sachs com­pany, and Fi­delity In­vest­ments.

A re­cent study by Price­Wa­ter­house­Coop­ers found that more than half of peo­ple are stressed out about their fi­nances, which trans­lates into lost time at work and di­min­ished pre­sen­teeism. In other words, work­ers are in their seats at work but they’re not re­ally fo­cused on their jobs.

“You don’t need nec­es­sar­ily a whole host of dif­fer­ent pro­grams but you do want things that are multi-modal and things that can be per­son­al­ized to the in­di­vid­ual,” Exum says. “One size does not fit all, par­tic­u­larly in fi­nan­cial well­ness.”

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