Plan advisor Barbara Delaney, principal and founder of Stone Street Equity, discusses simple ways she uses to engage participants in the 401k plans she manages in financial wellness programs and which companies are most likely to offer them successfully.
Stone Street manages 65 defined contribution (DC) plans with over $2.5 billion of assets including two divisions of the NYPD. They engage participants starting with an online assessment survey to learn what’s bothering them using a raffle of a month’s free rent to get them to respond. They found that participants wanted to know more about the process of applying for and successfully getting student loans. As a result, Stone created workshops on the subject which 400 people attended.
Barbara and her group sits with the plan’s Committee to propose various workshops on financial literacy based on the needs of the employee base determined by the online assessments showing results based on the improved scores.
The key to Stone Street’s success is twofold. They do not just focus on the 401k plan and the principles of investing – they teach financial literacy helping people to manage their finances and their budgets. Secondly, they custom their workshops based on the needs of the employees based on the online assessment which also allows Stone Street and the committee to know how effective the financial wellness programs have been.
So who are companies most likely to engage in financial wellness programs? Companies that already have a health wellness program are starting to think holistically by including financial literacy as part of the program. Healthy employees equate to lower healthcare costs and more productive workers – similarly, workers less concerned about finances, a big cause for stress, will be more productive as well. Senior management that realizes that when workers are able to retire on time, their workforce is more competitive with younger workers with lower healthcare costs and salaries.
Financial wellness programs tailored to the needs of the employees that teach basic financial literacy works for companies that see the benefits. Which is why Stone Street keeps things very simple.
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