Employer-sponsored financial wellness programs can help women respond to these risks and challenges. Financial wellness programs are designed to help workers manage day-to-day finances, protect against key financial risks, and achieve important financial goals. They can be tailored to address the needs of specific employee segments, including female employees. Well-designed programs provide a combination of education, guidance, tools, products, and services, including:
- Budgeting and debt management tools
- Emergency savings accounts
- Calculators for identifying adequate 401(k) contribution rates
- Information on claiming Social Security benefits
- Options to buy life insurance, which can help replace income in the event of a working spouse’s premature death, or provide money to a surviving spouse in retirement
- Access to annuity products that can help provide guaranteed lifetime income
At the heart of any sound benefits program, of course, is a well-designed workplace retirement plan, such as a 401(k), that can help employees foster good savings behavior. Retirement plans can be particularly effective when they include features such as automatic enrollment (and re-enrollment) and automatic contribution escalation, which can automate prudent behaviors. Matching contributions from the employer can be helpful, too; they can help increase participation rates while bolstering employees’ retirement accounts. Access to a well-designed retirement savings account is becoming increasingly important as women face new and growing challenges to achieving a financially secure retirement.