Looking for a Job? Look for an Employer Who Cares About Your Financial WellnessSubmitted by Alexander Consulting Group, LLC on April 13th, 2021
The rules of job-hunting obviously have changed over the past pandemic year. Many people have been wary about rocking the boat and changing jobs (unless they had to). But with the current recovering job market, finding a new job in 2021 now may be one of your top priorities.
If you are looking for a job, then consider adding this to your criteria: Look for an employer that cares about your financial wellness.
What Is Financial Wellness?
As I blogged about last month, “Financial Wellness” is a term that embraces money management across all stages of the lifecycle. Financial wellness programs help ensure you’re financially prepared for life milestones, retirement, and even unexpected events.
Financial wellness isn’t intuitive – if it wasn’t ingrained in you at home while you were growing up then it’s probably something you’ll need to learn. Programs for individuals are available by hiring a personal financial advisor or through community organizations (such as non-profit credit counseling services, churches, or even banks) that are educated in counseling people on financial wellness.
How Employers Can Help with Financial Wellness and Why They Want To
Financial wellness in the workplace is a comprehensive, education-focused program that improves employees’ financial behavior. It is geared toward helping individuals financially prepare for retirement.
According to a Congressional Research Service report dated December 2020, approximately 70% of all U.S. workers have access to employer-sponsored “pensions” (including employee-contribution retirement plans such as 401(k), 403(b), and 457(b) plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan). About 55% of U.S. workers participate in these employer-sponsored plans.
As you see from the statistics above, not all employees participate in retirement plans even when they’re available. And employers that simply have an available retirement plan aren’t doing all they can.
Educating employees about financial wellness not only helps individuals, it helps employers, too. The benefits of a financial wellness program are far-reaching:
• Increased retirement plan participation and deferral rates
• Increased employee productivity
• Reduced absenteeism
• Reduced healthcare costs
• A strong return on investment
Bringing financial worries into the workplace
According to 2019 data from Salary Finance, half of U.S. workers suffer from money worries, and the stress spills over into the workforce (and that was before the pandemic!). American businesses are losing $500 billion a year related to employees’ personal financial stress, which equals about 2.4% of U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The data showed that financially stressed employees:
• Lose nearly one month (23–31 days) of productive workdays per year
• Are 5.8 times more likely not to finish daily tasks and 4.9 times more likely to have lower work quality
• Are 4.5 times more likely to have poor relationships with colleagues
• Are 2.2 times more likely to seek a new job opportunity than other employees
Lost productivity, turnover and other factors directly related to employees’ poor financial wellness cost the average company 11-14% of their total payroll expense.
“Companies need to step up with financial wellness programs or risk big problems in the workplace,” states the HR publication Human Resource Executive.
What to Ask about Financial Wellness When You’re Interviewing
One step in the interview process typically includes handing you a packet of company benefits to review. If you don’t see “financial wellness” in the packet and you value the benefits of that type of program, it may be worth asking the Benefits Coordinator these questions:
• Is there a financial wellness program at this workplace?
• Does your retirement savings plan include a financial advisor who is available to consult with employees?
• Is a financial wellness program something this company would consider offering, since it helps the company bottom line as well as individuals?
How We Work with Businesses and Government Agencies to Help You
Financial advisors educated in workplace-based financial wellness help employers set up programs for their employees. At Alexander Consulting Group, we take a three-pronged approach to employee financial wellness:
1. We survey each employee about financial goals, analyze each employee’s 401(k) or other savings plan compared to their goals, and optimize their portfolio based on how much they’re saving and their target retirement date.
2. We provide guidance on setting up a comprehensive digital estate plan.
3. We work one-on-one with employees to create a comprehensive financial plan for long-term healthcare costs. (Healthcare-related costs can blow a family’s savings and put people in debt – costs related to health care are the number one reason for bankruptcy in the U.S.)
The Bottom Line
Hopefully, you will find your dream job this year. And hopefully your new employer will offer a financial wellness program – but if not, contact us. We’ll do the heavy lifting to talk your Benefits Director into adding an employee wellness program next year!
Alexander Consulting’s philosophy is to encourage people to plan for lifelong security: financial, health, and social. We take a highly individualized and zealously researched approach to financial planning so that our clients are fully prepared for all of life’s challenges.