Benefits to bet on: financial-wellness programs

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Research continues to indicate that employees are financially stressed: Many live paycheck to paycheck, don’t save as much for retirement as they want to, don’t have funds for emergencies and have trouble focusing on work because of money concerns. Enter the financial-wellness program, a high-impact benefit that can help employees get on track, budget, save and be more focused on their jobs.

“Financial benefits play a critical role in effective total-rewards programs,” says Scott Cawood, president and CEO of WorldatWork. “With life events, rising healthcare costs and personal debt the leading stressors within the workplace, it’s no surprise that organizations are focusing on financial benefits, especially in such a tight labor market where retaining talent is so critical.”

Costs for a financial-wellness program vary–a survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute showed that 43% of employers spend less than $50 per employee per year on such initiatives, whereas 21% spend more than $500. But the investment may prove wise for employers, as American businesses lose $500 billion per year due to employees’ personal financial stress, according to research from Salary Finance.

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Kathryn Mayer
Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s former benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver.