Your boss knows that your finances
may need some help. This year, you just might get it.
Just over half of employers surveyed
by Alight Solutions said they are in the process of creating financial
wellbeing strategies at the workplace.
And nearly 30 percent of the
participating companies said they already have such a program and are putting
it into action, Alight found.
The benefits administration company
polled 171 employers in September and October of 2018. The participating
businesses represent a total of 7.6 million workers.
Whether you call it "financial well-being" or
"financial wellness," the concept is the same: Companies want to
improve the overall health of their workers' finances.
This can run the gamut from helping
you budget to educating you on how to get the most out of your retirement plan.
Why should employers care? The
answers range from wanting to "enhance the overall employee
experience" and "we believe it's the right thing to do," said
Rob Austin, director of research at Alight.
"Employers are looking at what
benefits employees, including helping them reduce financial stress and get a
handle on what they're spending," he said. "If you're feeling better
about yourself, it could translate to better
There's something to that.
About half of the workers polled by
PricewaterhouseCoopers said that they were stressed over their finances. The
firm surveyed 1,600 working adults in February 2018.
Of those stressed employees, more
than half said they had less than $50,000 saved for retirement. Further, 2 out
of 3 said they consistently carry balances on their credit cards.
Here's how your employer is trying
to help you clean up your finances.
Education vs. budgeting
At the very least, most companies
plan on teaching their employees more about their money.
About a third of 106 employers
polled by consulting firm Callan said they offered financial wellness services
in 2018. That's up from 17 percent in the prior year.
Of those who offer these programs,
96 percent said they would focus on basic financial education. Nearly 85
percent said they would offer budgeting or savings tools, according to Callan.
In addition, 73 percent of that same
group said they would provide "student loan tools."
Some employers have adopted plans to
help workers who are grappling with debt.
For instance, Abbott introduced its Freedom 2 Save Plan: Employees who
put 2 percent of their pay toward their student loans will receive a 5 percent
"match" into their 401(k) plan account.
Still, it could be awhile before
these wellness solutions become commonplace among employers, said Jana Steele,
senior vice president in Callan's defined contribution consulting group.
"For defined contribution
plans, we don't see movement unless there is a driver around it: regulation,
litigation or legislation," she said.
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