Leading retirement plan sponsors are focusing their attention on giving participants a more holistic understanding of financial planning concepts to help find the right balance for each employee as he or she manages his or her short-terms needs versus long-term goals. In addition, employers are adding programs and resources to help employees manage the stress and meet the financial challenges that might get in the way of achieving true financial wellness.
Employers know from experience that a "healthy" employee may be affected by nonhealth factors and that emotional and financial health also need to be considered. Employers also recognize that the benefits of financially secure employees-such as experiencing lower levels of stress and being less distracted at work- can improve productivity and morale. Employees who are financially secure are also more likely to be able to retire closer to the standard age, reducing the need for older workers to continue working beyond when they would prefer to retire and therefore needing to use less employer-sponsored health care services. In addition, with a more financially fit employee base, employers may have more satisfied employees who might be more loyal to the companies where they work and more engaged in their daily tasks.
In the past, the most common plan feature offered by employers was education on the basics of investing
. Recognizing that employees need to consider all aspects of their financial situation before implementing or making changes to their planning and investment strategy, many employers have expanded the breadth of educational topics they offer
- Basics of financial makets (43%)
- Budegting (34%)
- Debt management (33%)
- Financial planning (33%)
- Health care spending (31%)
- Saving for life stages (28%)
- Prioritizing savings (27%)
So if your company is looking to increase your employee's overall financial wellness, start by broadening your educational offerings. Topics such as the ones listed above are great for engaging different segments of your employee base. We encourage you to provide the information in various formats (e.g., in-person education, as well as online resources) to help ensure that employees can access content in the best format for them.
Before you launch into significant outreach, we also recommend that you measure the overall financial wellness of your employees. By doing a quick survey of their needs and concerns, you will be able to focus your early efforts on the topics that interest them most. Furthermore, by gauging employee sentiment, you will have a baseline against which to compare in quantifying the impact of your
Lastly, like any multifaceted program or initiative, financial wellness is not a one-and-done type of thing. In order to impact the long-term overall wellness of your employees, you will need to continually evolve and support your wellness program as the needs and demographics of your employee base shift.
2015 Hot Topics in Retirement Study, Aon Hewitt
2016 Hot Topics in Retirement and Financial Well-Being
, Aon Hewitt