Financial Wellness At Work Really Work?


Financial* Wellness At Work Really Work

It’s no secret that financial* literacy levels in the US are dangerously low and many people lack confidence in their ability to effectively manage their personal finances. The promising news is there is a small but rapidly growing segment of the financial planning profession that is ready to change how people approach the decision making process for financial* matters. The primary goal is to go beyond providing basic financial education and to focus on the achievement of optimal financial* wellness through behavioral change.

What exactly is “financial* wellness?”

The term “financial* wellness” has emerged in recent years as a descriptor of an individual’s overall financial health and well-being. However, financial* wellness consists of more than just our perceptions and feelings about our own financial health. The concept of authentic financial* wellness is measured by a combination of factors including the overall satisfaction with our current financial* situation, actual financial* behaviors (i.e., budgeting, saving, paying off credit card balances in full), financial attitudes, financial* knowledge, and objective financial* status. Financial* Finesse defines financial* wellness as a state of well-being where an individual has achieved minimal financial* stress, established a strong financial foundation, and created an ongoing plan to help reach future financial* goals.

Who provides financial* wellness?

As my colleague Cynthia Meyer pointed out last week in The Unlikely Place Where Women Are Finding Relief From Financial Stress, companies are increasingly offering financial* wellness programs as an employee benefit. A recent Bank of America Merrill Lynch report indicated that over 90% of large employers plan on implementing or expanding some type of financial wellness program. This is a promising sign for both employees and companies because workplace financial wellness programs give employees access to financial education and guidance, increase employee morale, and have been proven to improve employee financial* well-being. A growing body of academic research demonstrates the association of financial* wellness with reduced financial* stress levels, an increased sense of retirement preparedness, and overall life satisfaction.

The process of helping people reach important financial* life goals does more than help out individual employees – it also helps the organizations they work for. Companies have a vested interest in promoting financial* wellness initiatives because financial* wellness is also linked to higher worker productivity, reduced absenteeism on the job, and reduced health care costs. In fact, workplace financial* education programs have a highreturn on investment for corporations implementing these programs with some estimates indicating up to a 3 to 1 return on investment.

Workplace financial* programs have the potential to completely transform how people manage their personal finances and prepare for important goals like getting out of debt, buying a home, or preparing for retirement. However, while financial* wellness programs are now purportedly offered on a widespread basis, it is important to recognize that not all programs are the same. Here are some questions to ask when evaluating a financial* wellness program:

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