82% of Workers Say Employee Financial Wellness Programs Have Positive Impact — Why Don’t More Companies Offer Them?

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More than eight in 10 U.S. employees say they’ve had a positive experience with financial wellness programs offered by their employers, yet only one in four employees currently have access to such programs, according to a new study.

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The “2022 SmartDollar Employee Benefits Study from Ramsey Solutions,” based on a survey of 3,090 full-time employees conducted in January with Dynata, found that more than half of employees feel they can’t get ahead financially. A similar percentage worry about their finances daily, and about 70% are living paycheck to paycheck, according to Ramsey Solutions.

Financial wellness programs designed to teach employees about saving money, reducing debt and sticking to budgets have proven effective in helping pull workers out of the financial doldrums, the study said.

Those with access to a financial wellness benefit were twice as likely to describe their personal finances as “better off than this time last year.” They were three times more likely to call financial planning and educational resources “must-haves” compared to those who don’t have a financial wellness benefit.

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Here are some other key findings:

  • 73% of employees say they wish their employer offered more resources to help them manage their finances.
  • 82% of those who do have a financial wellness benefit say it has made a “moderate to significant impact” on their personal finances.
  • Most employees are unfamiliar with and don’t have access to a financial wellness benefit.

In fact, only 25% of employees currently have access to a financial wellness benefit from their employer, according to the study. That’s comparable to the percentage of employees who have other wellness programs such as mental health resources (25%) and career and professional development programs (22%). But, it’s less than
those who have a health and wellness program through their employers (34%).

Large organizations are more likely to offer financial planning and education resources to employees. Only 12% who work at small organizations currently have a financial planning benefit, likely because smaller organizations have less money to invest in such programs. That compares to 15% of those working at mid-sized organizations and 22% of those working at large organizations.

Yet there’s no doubt that employees can benefit from financial wellness programs. This is especially true when it comes to sticking to a budget, getting rid of debt and saving money.

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“It’s not easy to break the cycle of working hard all week only to send most of your money out to bill collectors,” Ken Coleman, an author and career coach, said in an email statement to GOBankingRates.

To be effective, employee wellness programs must go beyond a “flyer in the breakroom or an email that gets buried,” Coleman added. He cites Ramsey Solutions’ financial wellness plan as an example of a comprehensive program that provides a step-by-step roadmap of how to get out of debt, save for emergencies, and retire with confidence.

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The benefit to employers is that financial wellness programs provide another way to find and retain workers in a tight labor market.

“Companies are in a recruiting war,” Coleman said. “In order to attract the best, they’ve got to show people they aren’t replaceable units of production – they’re people with hopes and dreams and real problems to be solved. I can’t think of a better way for companies to say, ‘I care,’ than by offering their employees help with their number one source of stress: money.”

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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