At the beginning of this year, we took a deep dive look into financial wellness benefits for 2018 and offered five forecast predictions. Since the year is almost over, we wanted take another look at them. Has your company made progress in these areas?
1. More employers will add financial wellness benefits. It’s not news that employee financial stress has an effect on a company’s bottom line through lower productivity, higher absenteeism and more health care claims. Have you added or are you currently considering additional financial education and wellness benefits? Employees overwhelmingly say they will participate in financial education programs, but many employers haven’t jumped on the bandwagon. In 2017 48 % of U.S. employers were offering some kind of counseling or instruction about money, according to SHRM and IFEBP surveys.
2. Financial wellness benefits will become more holistic. Realizing that financial wellness benefits are more than planning for retirement and having access to supplemental medical benefits, many employers have taken a more holistic approach to providing a financial wellness program. This includes not only financial education tools and resources but voluntary benefits that are designed to address both physical and emotional struggles while working to help employees with short-term financial needs.
3. More student loan repayment benefits will become available. Student loan debt is a major concern of Millennials, the largest generation in today’s workforce. In 2017 more Americans were burdened by student loan debt than ever before. Have you added or looked into student loan repayment benefits? Some employers are making contributions to loan balances or providing methods for employees to refinance their debt.
4. More attention will be given to helping employees with short-term financial issues. We’ve all seen the statistics about the alarming number of employees that continue to live paycheck-to-paycheck -- or even less -- and not having even $1,000 in savings for emergency needs. While financial education benefits can help employees with budgeting and debt reduction needs, employers are also adopting additional voluntary benefits to provide employees some financial assistance in the short-term, such as employee purchase programs and low interest installment loans and credit that help employees avoid payday loans and cash advances from credit cards when they have emergency needs such as a broken refrigerator or unexpected out-of-pocket medical expenses.
5. Employers will begin to look for ways to provide financial education to future generations . Employers should look for ways to provide an element of family-focused financial education -- either directly with their employees or in their communities. Employees need to be raising financially-responsible children and grandchildren. Incorporating a few age-appropriate financial education lessons into financial education resources and opportunities can start to pave the way for future generations.
Learn more about Purchasing Power, a financial flexibility benefit that is striving to empower employees with an alternative financing option through payroll deduction.