Building a Financial Wellness Program

A recent webinar regarding development of an effective financial program yielded a number of practical steps employers can take, reported PlanSponsor.com. (For more information, go tohttp://tinyurl.com/BuildingFinWellness.)

Liz Davidson, CEO of Financial Finesse, a well-known provider of financial wellness services, mentioned specific steps employers can follow to create a successful program.

These include:

  • Study demographic data about your employees in order to understand them.
  • Target communications to specific topics and groups.
  • Use several methods of communications (such as emails, printed materials, posters) to publicize the program.
  • Beware of overwhelming employees with too much information.
  • Offer education and specific action steps that employees can take.

Also effective is a system that acknowledges when progress is made and when milestones are reached.

Overall, Davidson said the key is the employer’s demonstration of its commitment to helping employees reach financial wellness.

At least one program thrives

The Meredith Corporation, a 3,200-employee media company, offers a very comprehensive financial wellness program to its employees.

Each participant receives an annual retirement readiness assessment and has access to on-site and online financial planning seminars presented by skilled advisors. There are even incentive programs that track and reward participants’ progress toward reaching their individual goals.

The company and a partner developed a benchmarking exercise to indicate financial stress felt by employees. They then implemented an annual financial wellness checkup, which is used to recommend actions regarding the investments offered in the retirement plan.

The program goes far beyond retirement planning. It can provide help in setting a personal budget, managing stress and optimizing a participant’s investment strategy.

The program has been a huge success. About 22% of Meredith employees said they had high financial stress in 2010; that figure is just 8% in 2014. Cash flow stress dropped from 41% to 22% in the same period. Similar declines were seen in the number of workers who felt distracted by their financial situation during work hours.

Meredith’s efforts are described in PlanSponsor.com and can be found athttp://tinyurl.com/MeredithWellness.

For plan sponsor use only, not for use with participants or the general public. This information is not intended as authoritative guidance or tax or legal advice. You should consult with your attorney or tax advisor for guidance on your specific situation.

Kmotion, Inc., P.O. Box 1456, Tualatin, OR 97062; 877-306-5055; www.kmotion.com

© 2014 Kmotion, Inc. This newsletter is a publication of Kmotion, Inc., whose role is solely that of publisher. The articles and opinions in this publication are for general information only and are not intended to provide tax or legal advice or recommendations for any particular situation or type of retirement plan. Nothing in this publication should be construed as legal or tax guidance; nor as the sole authority on any regulation, law or ruling as it applies to a specific plan or situation. Plan sponsors should consult the plan’s legal counsel or tax advisor for advice regarding plan-specific issues.