More employers providing financial counsel to employeesNews added by Benefits Pro on May 22, 2014

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Joined: September 07, 2011

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By Dan Cook

A study of employer efforts to assist their workers with financial planning and money-management suggests that a growing number of companies identify a role for themselves in this area because they see a direct return on such investments.

The survey, Financial Education for Today’s Workforce: 2014 Survey Results, released by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, said more than 60 percent of the employers it queried “believe their employees face more personal financial challenges today than they did five years ago” and are responding with educational programs to help ease the stress caused by financial worries.

Better still, the survey said, these proactive companies are exploring innovative programs to help their workers. “While traditional programs such as retirement planning benefits, investments and savings are the most common offerings, the findings show that employers are beginning to move beyond these typical offerings to better reach their participants,” the foundation said.

Employers overwhelmingly said they believe most of their workers need help with financial planning and managing their money; two in five actually said they feel a responsibility to wade into these waters and provide support.

“Employers are finding that successful education depends on customization,” explained Julie Stich, director of research at the foundation. “Offering education in multiple languages, to spouses, or based on specific criteria such as age, income or life events will increase interest and increase the number of employees who benefit.”

Among other survey results:
  • Half of all organizations said they have experienced an increase in demand from participants for financial education in the past five years.
  • More than one-third of organizations offering financial education have just started offering this education in the past five years.
  • The two most commonly cited financial challenges affecting employees were trouble saving for retirement and credit card/other debt.
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