Today’s employee benefits are moving well beyond traditional options like health insurance and 401Ks. That puts brokers and agents in a unique position to help organizations really meet their workplace needs. And financial wellness is emerging as a challenge many employees are experiencing across every generation of worker.
The Importance of Financial Wellness
Recent college graduates and many Millennials are entering the workforce saddled with student loans. So much so, that according to a 2015 American Student Assistance survey, 76% of respondents reported that if a prospective employer offered a student loan repayment benefit, it would be a contributing or deciding factor for accepting the job.
On the other side of the spectrum Baby Boomer employees are feeling the financial pressure too. The average Baby Boomer worker reported in a 2016 PwC Employee Financial Wellness Survey that 44% of them will retire later than they planned, up from 36% in 2015. This trend has implications on engagement, stress levels and productivity for this group. And delayed retirement may also result in the turnover of younger workers who now face a lack of upward mobility.
Employees are definitely looking for help. A LIMRA report on household stresses, found that 38% of employed consumers would like access to one-on-one advice with a financial advisor through their employer. Additionally, more than half of those aged 25-34 are in favor of this benefit.
Three Elements of Financial Security
Financial wellness programs are vast and still evolving. Addressing the wide-range of employees’ financial needs requires a broker to help leverage workforce data analysis and insights into education and guidance components. Prudential has developed a general approach to providing financial wellness initiatives that help employees build three foundational element of financial security:
Manage Day-to-Day Finances
Teach employees how to create and maintain a budget and reduce debt levels. Demonstrate how adopting these behaviors can also help employees achieve peace of mind and be better prepared to achieve important financial goals.
Reach Important Financial Goals
Educate workers and have them set goals for accumulating appropriate levels of savings and investments for their specific needs such as college loan payoffs, saving for a house, retirement planning, etc. This is critical, given that achieving those goals may become more difficult or expensive the longer an individual delays.
Protect Against Financial Risks
Employees need to learn how to prepare for financial risks like a loss of income due to illness, injury or death. Additionally, they must prepare for expenses related to unexpected health events that could limit their earning potential for a period of time or indefinitely. This can also help prevent employees from losing progress toward achieving their other important financial goals.
Source: The Power of the Wellness Effect. Prudential Financial, Inc. 2017