Financial Wellness Programs Includes Personal Attention
Financial wellness programs are now looking to add some much-needed hands-on support. The financial wellness counseling firm Finfit is offering free coaching to employees using its financial wellness program benefit platform.
Financial wellness programs have grown in popularity in large part because of the confusion many workers have around their personal finances. Research shows that, rather than going it alone, participants in financial wellness programs benefit even more by having access to the advice of a financial professional. Finfit brings together the best of both worlds.
Users of the fintech firm’s software have the ability to connect with certified financial counselors, who can provide guidance on a variety of financial wellness topics, including budget coaching, decisions about mortgages, student loans, and vehicle loans. In short, Finfit helps take the confusion out of personal finance by making it more personal. According to Finfit’s Chief Operating Officer, Pete Ostberg, the company’s software is like having a “personal trainer” for one’s finances. In addition, coaching has long-term positive effects. The idea, Ostberg said, is to get people headed in the right direction, and then help them to stay on a solid financial course for their entire lives.
While financial wellness programs have created quite a buzz in the media and throughout the industry in recent years, employers’ adoption of non-retirement-related financial advice benefits has actually declined over the past year. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), just 36% of employers offered financial wellness programs this year, compared to 48% the previous year. However, more than half of employers provide retirement-related investment advice, according to SHRM.
More than 125,000 employers currently use Finfit’s software to support their financial wellness programs. Among its clients is multi-national food corporation Pilgrim’s Pride and G4S, a security company. Most employees receive this financial wellness benefit for free and on a voluntary basis. However, in some cases, Finfit charges a monthly fee for each employee.
Finfit’s new financial counseling offering enhances financial wellness programs by providing employees the opportunity to contact a financial coach via phone or email during weekday business hours. Its counselors are certified by the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education and the National Association of Credit Counselors.
Employers have an important role to play in helping workers achieve greater financial stability. Financial stressors come at a great cost to both employees and employers. Therefore, employers can benefit from mitigating workers’ financial stressors by offering financial wellness programs, and where applicable, augmenting those offerings with real-time, real-world advice from a knowledgeable financial professional. Nearly 60% of employees say that money issues are a significant cause of stress for them, according to the latest financial wellness survey from PwC. In addition, more than half of Millennials and Baby Boomers surveyed were worried about not having an adequate emergency fund.
One way employers can play a significant role in financial wellness programs is by helping to boost awareness of the benefit among employees and making sure they understand the benefits available to them. That means keeping financial wellness program benefits top of mind, and ensuring they’re being talked about in the office. Consistent communication is one of the keys to helping employees embrace financial wellness programs. Employers can incorporate several methods of communication into a well-rounded employee education strategy, including newsletters, posts in employee portals, webinars and break room posters.
All of these are tactics that can help promote greater awareness of financial wellness program benefits. Employers would do well to consider them as a way to help improve financial wellness program effectiveness. When employers invest in employees’ financial wellness programs and make sure these benefits are ingrained in the company culture, everyone wins.