Money woes are a leading cause of anxiety for many Americans. Depending on the severity, anxiety can have detrimental effects on a person’s health in the form of simple headaches and high blood pressure to muscle tension and depression, among others.
People generally want to make smart financial choices today that put them in a better spot tomorrow. Many never learned how.
Why should this matter to employers?
Financial stress can impact their employee’s work performance in the form of productivity loss, absenteeism, increased health claims, distraction leading to errors or injuries, and higher turnover. This problem is not limited to any particular income level, industry, or type of work.
Fortunately, businesses both large or small have the power to help improve the financial literacy of their employees. Financial literacy is the skills, knowledge, and tools people use to make financial choices to reach their goals. Just as companies seek to provide benefits that improve their employees’ physical health, they should also take steps to ensure their employees have access to financial wellness programs and education to help their employees save, borrow, and plan responsibly.
What makes a good financial wellness program?
1. Budgeting Basics
People stress about money when they feel it is out of their control. The first step in regaining control is a proper budget to find where hard-earned money is going. Effective budgeting practices include: differentiating between wants and needs, tracking expenditures (big and small), identifying spending leaks, and saving effectively so that they are prepared for the unexpected.
2. Understanding Credit
Having access to credit is critical to sound financial health and the ability to make major purchases like an auto or home. What goes into a credit score? How do you read a credit report? How does this affect the ability to borrow?
3. Debt Management
A primary source of financial stress. But not all debt is bad debt. Help your employees understand when debt is appropriate, how various types of debt affect their credit score, and strategies to eliminate and pay down unwanted debt.
4. Avoiding Scams and Identity Theft/Fraud
Help your employees protect their personal finances by educating them about common types of scams and fraud. If an employee has fallen victim to scam or fraud, connect them to resources to mitigate the damage, control the situation, and take back their identity.
5. Investment and Retirement Planning
Retirement plan options are a great benefit, but according to the U.S. Census Bureau, two-thirds of Americans don’t invest in their company retirement plan at all. Find ways to encourage team members to participate in your organization’s retirement plan, contributing up to the amount of your company match and increasing their contribution percentage each time they receive a raise. Also, provide financial planning services so that they can reach milestones like buying a home.
Establishing a financial wellness program for your team doesn’t have to be a major undertaking or expensive. Many financial institutions, like Excite Credit Union, are fully equipped to connect your employees to financial education or counseling services – and we offer these services for free to partner businesses!
Benefits like those mentioned above can help your company stand out, retain amazing talent, and improve your employee's mental, physical and financial health one step at a time.
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