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How Does a Financial Wellness Program Work with Existing Benefits?

Karl Holmlund

Providing Financial Wellness is like giving all your employees a raise

For some employees, trying to grasp all the ins and outs of a benefits program can be intimidating and overwhelming. Just reading the rules or sitting through the seminars can make their eyes glaze over. Even worse, the complexity can result in less participation…which means they are missing out on the “benefits” of the benefits.

A comprehensive financial wellness solution is not just another layer on top of your existing benefits program, it’s a benefits multiplier that can give your employees the guidance to take full advantage of your existing offerings, making them feel as if they just got a raise. Here’s how…

Increase Participation in 401(k) Programs

If employees don’t fully understand the importance of saving for retirement as early as possible, they may not be compelled to enroll in your 401(k). Sure, you can give them brochures and webinars, but to actually see their unique financial situation clearly presented can be eye-opening.

When they set an official retirement goal on a financial wellness platform – with actual dates and lifestyle parameters – they can actually see progress. The digital technology lets them adjust aspects of their goal to project varying results. A Financial Wellness Coach can help them realize the steps necessary to achieve their goal, which results in less stress about their finances.

If your company provides 401(k) matching, financial wellness educates and encourages them to contribute at least as much as the match. A Financial Wellness partner can help illustrate the importance of taking your generous match.

When it comes to choosing investment funds in a 401(k), many employees get paralysis from analysis. Just trying to evaluate net returns and fee structures can result in them choosing nothing or default vehicles. An effective financial wellness partner helps employees navigate the complex aspects of choosing the best funds to fit their personal risk-reward profile and long term goals.

Give Health Savings Accounts an Injection of Activity

Healthcare benefits are usually the primary concern of employees evaluating benefits packages. Even though insurance coverage is the typical focus, HSAs can be a great way to provide an excellent health care option to employees, yet few employees take advantage because they don’t fully understand the benefits.

A good financial wellness program can translate into greater overall wellness and enrollment in HSAs. But HSA rules can be tricky. There are quite a few “ifs” and “thens” to consider based on every personal situation. Financial wellness advisors can walk them through how to get the most out of HSAs.

Do employees realize that HSA money rolls over year after year? That their account is portable? That money can be invested in a retirement account? They will, thanks to their financial wellness education.

Increase “Buy-In” for Employee Stock Purchase Plans

ESPPs yield more engaged, motivated employees who have an actual stake in the company. As a stockholder, they have a vested interest in the success of the company and might just work harder or even take shorter lunches.

As with many other employee benefit programs, there are lots of details to evaluate. A financial wellness program delivers in-depth steps about key purchase period dates, how ESPP discounts work, and how to prioritize stock purchases in their overall financial life strategy.

Financial Wellness May Make Your Entire Benefits Program More Appetizing

Instead of thinking about whether to sandwich financial wellness into your existing benefits program, look at it another way. The right financial wellness program will pair nicely with your existing benefits. Like the jelly your peanut butter didn’t know it was missing all along, it won’t compete. It can be a nice enhancement.