Prudential finds 22% of employees who are financially well may help advance business goals.
Financially fit employees may lead to a financially fit business.
When employees are financially well, employers may be better able to advance their business goals.
The “American Dream,” a shared ideal founded on individuals’ ability to achieve financial prosperity and security, is, for many Americans, slipping out of reach. In a recent Prudential survey regarding U.S. consumers’ perspectives on financial wellness, only 22% of individuals described themselves as feeling financially secure. Building upon employers’ realization of the value of employees’ health wellness over the past decade, there is growing acceptance among employers that there is significant value in improving employees’ financial wellness.
What is financial wellness?
Financial wellness is realized when individuals adopt behaviors that help them achieve the foundational elements of financial security:
Managing Day-to-Day Finances
Achieving Important Financial Goals
Protecting Against Key Financial Risks
What can employers do to help?
As long-standing providers of employee benefits, employers are viewed by employees as trusted partners who can help employees achieve financial wellness. Traditional workplace benefits programs are expanding to include new, complementary financial wellness approaches. Financial wellness programs focus on foundational financial issues, such as budgeting, debt management, saving and investing, and protecting against key financial risks.
What’s in it for employers?
When employees are financially well, employers benefit, too. Employers may be better able to advance their strategic business goals:
Increased Employee Productivity
Optimized Investments in Employee Benefits
Improved Workforce Management
44% of employees worry about finances at work, and 46% spend two to three hours per week on personal financial matters at work.1
In 2012, employees withdrew $70 billion from retirement accounts before reaching retirement age. This equates to 59% of employers’ matching dollars contributed to those accounts that same year.2
44% of employees expect to retire later than planned.3 A one-year increase in retirement age costs employers about as much as paid sick and personal leave combined.4
How can employers maximize the effectiveness of their financial wellness programs?
Each employer has a unique business model and employee base, and, therefore, faces different challenges when implementing a financial wellness approach. Employers should design financial wellness programs that are informed by insights into the unique financial needs of their employees, successfully educate and engage employees, and help employees take concrete actions to improve their financial health. We encourage employers to discuss financial wellness with their benefit consultants or advisors.
1 Purchasing Power, “Financial Wellness: Addressing the ‘9 to 5’ Impact of 24/7 Financial Stress,” 2013. 2 HelloWallet, “The Retirement Breach in Defined Contribution Plans,” January 2013. 3 PricewaterhouseCoopers, “Employee Financial Wellness Survey 2016 Results,” 2016. 4 Prudential, with supporting research and analysis from the University of Connecticut’s Goldenson Center for Actuarial Research. A one-year increase in average retirement age, using national averages for private sector workers, results in an average annual incremental run rate of about 1%–1.5% of workforce costs.
The Prudential Insurance Company of America, Newark, NJ.
Prudential’s research study offers employers actionable steps for improving RTW outcomes. The paper focuses on thought processes that play a role in employees’ return to work and productivity. What’s more, it provides employers with best practices to help employees overcome psychological hurdles and successfully return from disability.
Prudential’s research sheds light on employees’ self-assessment of their financial wellness. Among the findings: an alarming 57% of employees are very or somewhat stressed about their financial situation. Fortunately, employers can help employees achieve financial security and wellness.
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