Once a company benefit available only to top-tier executives, financial advice is becoming a mainstream employee perk.
Workplace research and anecdotal evidence suggest that employees exposed to one-on-one fiscal education programs are more likely to seize control of their finances, save more money, better prepare for life’s big moments and stress less at work.
For their part, employers can expect to see not just a boost in employee morale and productivity, but growth in their 401(k) plan participation and increasing contribution levels as a percentage of salary.
“A substantial portion of employees – roughly 15 to 25 percent – spend time on the job dealing with personal money matters like paying for plane tickets to visit sick parents and unexpected house, car or medical expenses,” said William Barnett, a workplace financial specialist in Indianapolis. “Paycheck-to-paycheck living is the norm for many, and at times, it can get so overwhelming that it’s ironically hard for people to focus on the work that provides the paychecks.”
In an effort to help alleviate some of that stress and ultimately put the emphasis back on work, more employers are offering financial planning benefits like investment and retirement advice, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
Also, some employers, according to SHRM, offer employees access to financial or investment training designed to educate them about personal finance. This training could include helping employees manage their assets, understanding basic financial concepts, and income planning for college savings and debt management.
Employers are taking a mix of approaches in this doing this.
Twenty-five percent of organizations surveyed by SHRM offered one-on-one financial advice, 24 percent offered online advice and 20 percent offered in-group or classroom financial advice.
The Meredith Corp., which in part publishes Better Homes and Gardens magazine, is among them.
The company has developed a financial wellness program that includes a range of worksite and online financial education workshops, personalized one-on-one financial planning sessions and an annual Personal Financial Wellness Checkup.