Financial wellness benefits may be more popular than employers and benefit advisers think. In fact, it’s not inconceivable that employees will come to expect financial wellness benefits the same way they’ve come to expect health insurance and retirement savings accounts, says Matt Bahl, vice president financial wellness strategies at Prudential.
Increasingly, individuals need a broader set of tools and solutions that aren’t just focused on retirement savings, but also the day-to-day money challenges that get in the way of financial fitness, says Bahl.
Recent research points out an advantage that many employers may have in their role as financial wellness providers — their employees actually trust them.
Three-fourths of employees say they see their employer as a trusted source of help and approximately 60% say they are more committed to their employer and more productive at work when their employer demonstrates a commitment to employees’ financial wellness. These statistics are part of a recent Prudential report, Wellness Programs Earn Their Place in Human Capital Strategy, the first in a five-part series on implementing financial wellness programs.
Those numbers make sense, says Bahl, when you consider that employees are facing so many new and existing financial stresses including student debt (for recent grads and their parents) credit card debt and budgeting problems. “When you consider 40% of Americans can’t afford three months’ worth of expenses at the poverty level, you can see the challenges,” says Bahl, referring to research from Prosperity Now, a nonprofit focused on helping low-income Americans attain financial stability.