Financial Wellness is one of the hottest topics in benefits circles so far this year. Surveys by Aon Hewitt and predictions by Benz Communications indicate its a top priority for employers, and traditional financial service providers are stumbling over themselves to get in on the action. While Benefits and HR professionals are trying to ascertain how to help employees meet their financial needs, I’ve been doing my own chewing on the subject.
I spent the first decade of my career in Defined Contribution and 401(k) retirement consulting. During that time, I learned the importance of saving and financial management not from the success stories I saw but from the acute failures I witnessed every day. As a twenty-something, I was profoundly impacted by the number of thirty, forty and fifty-somethings who weren’t saving enough… if they were saving at all.
Today, we all know the sad truth: that most Americans will not afford themselves the luxury of retirement because they’ve waited too long to save. They are swimming in debts that detract from their priorities and place hardship on their families and their health. When I was with Safeway I had the pleasure of working alongside Shawn Leavitt (now with Comcast). He was the first person that opened my eyes to the true impact of a family’s finances.
How many families of teenagers are worried that they won’t have the financial means to send them to college? What about if they need a knee replacement but don’t know where they should draw their money to pay for the hefty deductible? How many people are stuck working multiple jobs just to make ends meet? And what do their sleepless nights, poor health and juggling act of responsibilities do to their work productivity and creativity?
Though we continually slap people on the wrist because they aren’t setting aside at least 10% of their income for retirement, we all inherently know that Financial Wellness goes well beyond account balances. Employees need real assistance navigating these seas.
As a bright light shines on Financial Wellness there is an opportunity to think differently and craft resources around the employee experience. Let’s meet employees and their families where they are in this moment. Let’s engage with them and take it from there. Let’s create pathways so they can achieve what is most important to them, at this moment.
That’s why I am so excited to join up with the entrepreneurs at myFinancialAnswers as an advisor. They are bringing new thinking and an incredible team together to create something that is tangible, new and has real value for employees and their families.
As always, if you'd like to discuss please don't hesitate to reach out. I love this stuff.
Since leaving Tesla six months ago, I have been answering a lot of questions. Friends, colleagues and even strangers want to know what I’m up to. With the start of a new year and ample time spent reflecting and prioritizing, I’m excited to announce the creation of my company, Ursa Major Consulting.
Over the past six months, I’ve leveraged my time to focus and reflect on the things that tend to get lost working in hard-charging environments with motivated, exceptional people. Things like eating healthy, exercising, reading, connecting with family, mourning the loss of my father, automotive therapy and, yes, even improving my golf handicap. I've taken stock of what I value most and I’ve re-stacked the deck. What an amazing time it has been, but the journey is only beginning.
Amidst the reflection, I quickly realized that I wanted to continue to do what I love doing: creating, solving, innovating and partnering with incredibly smart people and companies. Ursa Major Consulting will allow me to do just that. It will:
It is both a challenging and exhilarating time in the benefits and healthcare space and I look forward to all the great partnerships and projects ahead. I hope to cross paths and share discoveries with you over the coming year.
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