A Broker’s Guide to Financial Wellness Benefits
Employee financial stress is at an all-time high due, in large part, to continued economic uncertainty and rising inflation. Employees of all incomes and across all life stages are turning to their employers for help. BrightPlan’s 2022 Wellness Barometer Survey found that 88% of employees expect their employers to support them with their finances. Further, financial wellness benefits are now the most desired employee benefit, followed by mental health benefits and flexible time off.
With employers looking for new ways to attract top talent and support the needs of their workforce, benefits previously thought of as “nice to have” are now a “must have.” Brokers can play an integral role by equipping HR leaders with the tools they need to meet this demand.
Traditionally, programs such as a 401(k) or pension plan have made up the extent of an employer’s financial wellness offering. While retirement planning is an important component of a financial wellness package, it’s just one element of Total Financial Wellness. A holistic financial wellness program should address the needs of employees at every stage of life and include financial education, tools for planning, the ability for employees to invest, track and manage their finances, and provide access to financial planners.
Here’s what to look for in a reputable solution:
A comprehensive solution should include 24/7 access to digital tools that enable employees to easily consume educational content, and manage and track their finances in real-time, providing updated guidance based on evolving employee goals and changing market conditions.
Access to Financial Planners
Employees should have the convenience and support of real-time access to financial education and money management tools paired with experienced financial planners. Planners can help spot gaps in a financial plan, give valuable validation that employees are moving in the right direction, and answer specific and personal questions about an employee’s finances.
A shocking 13% of employees have basic financial literacy. This means that a majority of employees are likely unaware of simple financial concepts and principles that can lead to financial confidence. In order to drive financial literacy, financial education needs to be the foundation of any financial wellness program and must be easy-to-digest and actionable.
Look for solutions that offer tailored education and financial planners trained in benefits that your clients offer, such as 401(k), HSA, and stock compensation plans. This can help drive utilization and engagement of their overall benefits program. The right solution and partner can also help with organizational effectiveness, serving as an extension of the broker’s service team and the client’s HR organization.
Data & Insights
A comprehensive solution should provide data and insights into employees’ progress towards achieving their financial goals and overall utilization of the program. This can give clarity into the adoption and success of employee financial and holistic well-being initiatives. Data should also be segmented by demographics to provide insights into the needs of different employee populations, enabling HR teams to better support employees, demonstrate ROI, drive customization, and improve decision-making.
Personalized & Equitable
To foster a culture of care and belonging, it’s important for the solution to be accessible and embrace all employees’ unique values and perspectives. It should support employees at every stage of life and with varying financial goals, whether that’s paying off debt, buying a home, or preparing for retirement.
HR teams are often challenged with creating a consistent employee experience across their global workforce. The solution should deliver a similar experience across a globally dispersed team with education tailored to specific countries and in-country financial planners held to a fiduciary standard.
It’s critical to look for a solution that delivers independent, objective financial advice that is always in the best interests of employees. Solutions should be certified by an independent third-party to ensure adherence to the fiduciary standard.
Learn more about BrightPlan’s Total Financial Wellness solution and partnership opportunities.