By Fran O’Rourke – KeyBank Capital Region Market President
According to The KeyBank 2023 Financial Mobility Survey, the share of Americans facing financial challenges grew to 55% over the past year, a nearly 20-point increase from the year prior. In addition, two in five people (42%) reported feeling overwhelmed or burned out as a result of their financial challenges, with Millennials (52%) and those under 35 (54%) experiencing burnout more acutely. Regardless of where they are in their financial journey, 85% of respondents have acknowledged that more financial knowledge and strategies could bolster their financial resilience in these times of continued economic turbulence and uncertainty.
What does all this mean for you as an employer? For one thing, it means it’s likely that many of your employees may be experiencing some level financial stress, despite receiving a fair wage and generous employee benefits from your company, which could be having adverse effects on their productivity. It also means employees may be more receptive than ever to a workplace financial wellness program that can help them better manage their financial health.
A number of banks, including KeyBank offer complimentary workplace financial wellness programs to companies of all sizes. Of course, not all bank-provided programs are the same. To help you assess your banking partner’s program, here’s a checklist of key elements that can make your program successful.
A comprehensive workplace financial wellness program includes:
- A financial education curriculum with money management strategies that can be put into practice to address both short- and long-term financial goals.
- Provides workshops that are planned around common life stages (home-buying, saving for college, planning for retirement and long-term care, etc.) and can be customized based on employees’ needs and feedback.
- Reflects evolving economic trends (ie. inflation) to deliver information and guidance relevant in current market conditions.
- Delivers content relative to income levels, stages of life, and complexity of financial needs — from foundational budging principles to complex financial guidance.
- Covers beginning and advanced savings and budgeting strategies and practices.
- Includes educational materials to cater to varying levels of financial knowledge, from basic budgeting to more advance topics like debt repayment, investments including secondary homes, and transitioning wealth.
- Provides employee self-service tools and digital resources that allow them to put workshop learnings into practice and empower them to continue their financial progress when they are not engaging with a financial advisor.
- Includes online calculators, tracking tools, quizzes, and other resources that identify spending habits, help build a budgeting plan, and track progress against goals.
- Explains how Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) can be used to plan for medical expenses, as well as for wealth-building through investment.
- Factors in your company’s offerings like health insurance plans, wellness stipends and any company-provided benefits that can help them plan their spending and savings.
- Addresses crisis preparation and provides strategies for managing through unexpected occurrences.
- Stresses the importance of having an emergency fund set aside and suggests actionable steps to establish one through automating savings programs and other strategies.
- Includes education on other types of preparation, such as life insurance policies, HELOCs, and personal loans.
- Includes strategies for paying down debt.
- Covers education on how credit works, the variety of credit options available, debt-to-credit ratios, and the importance of maintaining a healthy credit score.
- Reviews debt payment strategies, including the pros and cons of debt consolidation.
- Includes information on student loan repayment strategies, particularly if your workplace demographics skew younger.
- Helps your employees plan for retirement.
- Offers workshops around the important of retirement savings and provides tools for calculating how much they need to retire.
- Explains how tax-deferred savings plans like 401(k), 403(b), and traditional IRA plans work, and how to leverage your company’s match program to their advantage.
- Provides information on different investment options and strategies.
- Shows them how Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) can be used as a retirement planning tool.
- Offers one-on-one financial counseling with access to financial products and services aligned with their individual needs.
- Ability to align financial advisors with specific expertise based on income levels and needs.
- Can provide a full complement of banking, credit, lending and investment products and services to support employees’ full set of financial needs.
One last statistic to consider: According to PwC’s annual Employee Financial Wellness Survey, 41% of financially-stressed employees are embarrassed to seek guidance on their finances. As an employer, you can help destigmatize asking for help by providing effective company-provided financial wellness resources as part of your overall employee benefits program.
Visit Key@Work – Employee Financial Wellness Program | KeyBank to learn how you can bring KeyBank’s complementary Financial Wellness program to your workplace.
About the author: Fran O’Rourke is President of KeyBank’s Capital Region Market. She may be reached at either 518-257-8733 or [email protected].
Four Tips for Financial Mobility
Here are some ways for you to take charge in 2023, while keeping both your financial goals and personal wellness in mind.
- Start where you are and set a path toward your destination. Whether your vision for 2023 includes leaning into career growth opportunities, planning for life milestones like buying a home or starting a family, or simply gaining a better understanding of your finances, think about where you currently stand and where you want to go next.
- Speak with a trusted advisor who can help you assess your financial situation and identify any potential financial faux pas. Those who know you well—such as a spouse, significant other, family member, or friend—might be able to share personal insights you had not previously considered. On the other hand, a financial professional can share an objective point of view on your overall financial picture and help you create a plan to reach your goals. Set up a Financial Wellness Review at your local KeyBank branch to help get you started.
- Build financial confidence and security by using the right tools. The uncertainty of the past few years highlighted the importance of backup plans and emergency savings. Online and automated features can ease the stress of managing your finances today and offer peace of mind for tomorrow. For example, our EasyUp tool automatically transfers $1 from your checking and into your savings account with each purchase that you make, while our Savings Calculator shows how small additions to your savings can make a big difference over the years.
- Balance your budget—and your activities. Burnout can take a toll on everything from your job performance and financial wellness to physical and mental health. Remember to check in with yourself regularly to best manage your workload, financial priorities and personal time.