Should you offer a financial wellness program to your key employees?

[Originally published December 2018; last updated October 2020]

A healthy key employee tends to be a productive one. In addition to having fewer sick days, indispensable staff members who are doing well physically are in a better position to perform on the job and focus on the assignment at hand, even multitasking more effectively.

But unlike the physical manifestations of health, the financial related ones are more difficult to detect. Key employees may be reluctant to mention them, as money is a sensitive subject for virtually everyone. Given this, more business entities are offering financial wellness programs for their staff.

"75% of respondents said financial wellness programs were available to workers."

According to a recent poll conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, an increasing number of companies aren't just interested in their staff members' physical well-being, but their financial health as well. Indeed, close to 75 percent of respondents said financial wellness programs were available to workers, although their participation wasn't mandatory.

Substantial rise in participation among businesses
These programs, which typically include various types of learning tools and products that go toward shoring up workers' bottom-line, have become particularly popular within the last few years, according to separate polling conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management. Nearly half of all employers provided financial assistance opportunities to their staff in 2017, up from 36 percent compared to 12 months earlier.

Largely fueling the surge is Americans' retirement preparation – or lack thereof. Just 16 percent of retirees say they definitely have saved up enough money to retire comfortably, a recent poll conducted by the nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found.

"Retirees' circumstances regarding when and how they retired exemplify common risks: employment issues, ill health, and financial need,"  said Catherine Collinson, president and CEO of TCRS. "They offer a cautionary tale for those currently in the workforce on the importance of maintaining good health, financial planning, and competitive job skills."

While a considerable percentage of Americans are at least somewhat preparing for retirement, the fact that they often postpone seeing the doctor due to the costs involved, as a recent Gallup poll found, further suggests that they could use some extra help.

Are the programs yielding results?
Employer financial wellness programs may be just the thing. However, the jury is out on whether they're paying off, given that many are still in their beginning stages, noted Lori Lucas, CEO and president of EBRI.

"EBRI's survey reveals that even among the most motivated employers, it is early days when it comes to offering financial wellness initiatives," Lucas explained. "Even defining what is meant by financial wellbeing and what constitutes financial wellness initiatives can be challenging."

What's well understood is the centrality of key employees. Leveraged Planning® Solutions may provide the means to reducing the fallout that can result from their untimely death or illness. Please speak with a GFD Financial Services Manager to learn more.