Financial Wellness a Differentiator for Employers
As employers look to differentiate their financial benefits in a tight labor market, one area that is scoring high with employees according to the National Financial Educators Council's annual survey is Financial Wellness. To start, what is Financial Wellness? It can have multiple meanings and it really depends on who you are asking.
The antiquated 401K enrollment meeting has shifted into personal financial education training. Discussion topics typically range from budgeting, student loans, financing a home purchase all the way to Social Security planning and Estate Planning. These sessions can frequently be done in-person, via pre-recorded video, or via mobile apps and websites.
While making the benefit available may make employers feel all warm & fuzzy inside, the real question is are they effective. Some aspects of Financial Wellness can be easily gauged if employers are evaluating specific aspects of their financial benefits package (such as 401K use, utilization of company match, use of plan loans & hardship distributions) while others can be more difficult to assess. How do employers determine if employees are doing better with their budgeting or if they have refinanced their mortgage to improve their overall financial picture?
Evaluating the use of mobile apps & Financial Wellness portals is one way to assess if employers are getting a return on their efforts to improve their employees lives. Fortunately there are many stakeholders to get employees in a better place financially and the resources are abundant if employers are working with the right people.