A while back, I wrote about how increasing competition in the financial planning profession has prompted advisors to look at unconventional ways they could set themselves apart. As a result of clients no longer accepting a ‘cookie-cutter’ model for planning, many advisors are providing more personalized guidance, digging deeper into their clients’ plans to help them achieve emotional and financial success. But there is still one area that has traditionally been ignored and is now coming to light as an important piece to being able to differentiate oneself from others in the field—employer-sponsored benefits.
Why this is important is somewhat obvious. For most clients who are employed, the benefits they receive during their career make up a huge portion of their savings and ability to achieve financial goals. We’re not talking just retirement plans, but also health care and insurance policies that help people pay for expensive emergency or medical bills, college tuition reimbursement benefits, legal benefits to draft estate planning documents at no or low cost and so on. These benefits are a big part of people’s lives and their ability to achieve their goals. There’s an inherent relationship between them and planning one’s future, and advisors are taking note.
As a workplace financial education provider, we repeatedly hear how much employees desire planning around their benefits. Their questions to our financial educators are often benefits-specific and there’s a reason for this. Many employers, though they are doing a better job overall at communicating benefits to employees, are not doing enough around the financial aspect that employees really care about—how their benefits help them achieve financial goals.