Financial Wellness: Passing Fad, or ... the Future!?

September 30, 2016

 

Thank you to Doug Murray and Mary Hollingsworth of Wells Fargo for taking the time to join me on the 401(k) Fridays Podcast!  They shared some excellent points and tackled some not so simple questions such as "What is Financial Wellness" and how do we know if someone is financially healthy?  If you have not had a chance to listen to the episode please click the player below.  

 

Now, for this installment of the 401(k) Fridays Fiduciary Fact and Folly! 

 

Financial Wellness is an exciting and quickly evolving topic in the retirement industry, and I would agree with my guests that it is the future, not a fad.  And, there is clearly a need for help!  For today’s fact I’m going to reference a few points from the 2016 PwC Survey on Employee Financial Wellness, I will include a link to the full report on the website and my blog post if you would like to review it.  The key point that jumped out at me was over half the employees surveyed said they are experiencing financial stress, and the trend is not good with just under half of the employees surveyed said their financial stress levels are got worse in the last  year, not better.

 

As Financial Wellness gains popularity and traction with employers, more providers will enter an already crowded field, introduce new services or otherwise look to compete for either your employer dollars or for your participants assets or financial needs with their financial wellness offerings.  Employers who are interested in exploring wellness solutions have a variety of choices to consider which can be internet or app based planning tools, independent broad based financial education campaigns, one-on-one coaching resources, product or professional referral based services to solve specific needs or simple enhancements to your current employee education programs.  While competition is typically healthy and good, it could also make selecting a service partner or partners more challenging.  As we talked about in the podcast, to have a fighting chance of getting a positive outcome from your efforts around financial wellness, you need to understand the basic question of why are you pursuing it.  What do you hope to accomplish, how will a program benefit your workforce and how will it benefit the company.  And, its okay for it to benefit both!  One word to the wise, as you explore different options, be sure you understand how they will make money from either you as a company, or from your participants.  Not many people work for free!  In closing, if don’t have the why portion of your financial wellness strategy figured out, then you are likely headed for today’s folly which is you will wind up with what a provider can sell to you, versus a strategy aligned with what you and your employees actually need. 

 

If you would like some more personal support to explore if financial wellness could benefit your company and employees, or if you have decided to pursue financial wellness but need some help developing a strategy, send an email to info@401kfridays.com.  Who knows, we might be able to help!

 

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