Ninety-five percent of workers believe financial literacy is important, according to a new study by LIMRA. Yet only about a third (35 percent) feel they are moderately or extremely knowledgeable about financial products and services. And only 28 percent are very confident in their abilities to make important financial decisions.

“Employers recognize that financial stress can impact an employee’s performance and we are seeing more interest from employers in offering financial education to their workers to help them better manage their finances,” said Jennifer Douglas, associate research director, LIMRA Developmental and Strategic Research. “In this study we assessed full-time employees’ access to financial education programs at work and whether they took advantage of those programs.”

The study found that nearly two in three workers have access to educational programs about their employee benefits, with 72 percent of those taking advantage of the program.  Six in ten workers have access to retirement planning help through their employer.   Each of the following programs is available to roughly a quarter of employees: general budgeting, debt management or estate planning.

The study also uncovered that a majority of workers who took advantage of the offerings were satisfied with the financial education programs they attended. Surprisingly, workers who attended the debt management programs were more likely to be extremely satisfied with the course (32 percent) compared with retirement planning courses, for example, where 17 percent felt extremely satisfied.

LIMRA discovered nearly half (49 percent) of interested employees want to use an online program for their employer-sponsored education.  One-on-one meetings with financial advisors, written materials (newsletters, pamphlets workbooks), and seminars each appealed to about a third of workers who want information. 

“American workers are responsible for so many day-to-day financial decisions that can have a significant impact on their overall financial wellbeing for the rest of their lives,” noted Douglas.  “Our study shows that employees are interested in receiving help on various financial topics and, when they take advantage of them at work, they are generally happy with the results.”

See page 2 for a chart showing the percentage of workers who are satisified with their employer-sponsored financial education programs.