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.
Receive updates on Ursa Major news and happenings.