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Retirement Education:

Proof That Workplace Financial Education Works

When it comes to financial education, nothing works like one-on-one counseling at the office during work hours, according to a new analysis from a major financial study. Employees exposed to this kind of program become more engaged in their financial affairs and save more, among other positive outcomes.

Among employees who attended a one-on-one session in 2014, 92% agreed to take certain positive steps and 80% followed through with those steps, according to The study. The most common steps were to increase savings now and agree to automatic increases in the future.

Meanwhile, payroll deferral rates were 9% higher among those who attended a one-on-one session; 19% of those who attended chose to automatically increase their retirement plan contribution with pay increases, compared to only 2% of those who did not get one-on-one counseling.

‚ÄčWEIGHING THE EFFECTS OF FINANCIAL EDUCATION IN THE WORKPLACE

Most personal finance guides agree on basic principles of personal finance. Most fundamental are budgeting; paying bills on time; saving for emergencies, large-ticket items, and retirement; and limiting unsecured debt so that it does not become a burden on household finances. In January, 2009, revolving consumer debt totaled over $961 billion, and total consumer debt, excluding home mortgages, reached $2.6 trillion (Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy). The median value of outstanding debt for families holding debt increased 27 percent in just three years (from 2004 to 2007; Federal Reserve Board). Personal bankruptcies increased by 29 percent from 2007 to 2008 (Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts). Moreover, the national savings rate was negative before the current recession (Bureau of Economic Analysis; Figure 1). Most Americans are ill-prepared for retirement, while at the same time, the degree to which Social Security can fund retirement is becoming increasingly lower for future generations. Many assert that financial education is the solution, at least in part, to the poor financial condition of many Americans and that increased financial literacy will lead people to make better decisions with their money. 

Like health and wellness, employee personal financial fitness is an important aspect of overall well-being. We strive to advance financial literacy so that employees are able to make educated decisions and take action to improve their financial wellness.

Why financial education

Employees may be stressed over organizational shifts, market conditions, and benefits changes. They often look to their employer for help navigating the personal financial issues that are part of their changing environment:

  • Greater employee responsibility for retirement, saving, and investing decisions.
  • Declining retirement plan values which impact employee retirement readiness.
  • Stressful situations that decrease work productivity including foreclosure or death of a loved one.
  • Organizational change such as workforce reductions, voluntary and involuntary early retirement programs, and relocations.
  • Benefits changes like retirement plan conversions or 401(k) plan enhancements.
  • Personal life events including retirement where employees need guidance on topics like retirement plan distribution options.
  • General lack of employee knowledge, appreciation, and utilization of employer benefits including retirement and pension plans, insurance, flexible spending accounts, and legal services plans.

What we do

  • We work with you to design and deliver a customized financial wellness program tailored to your employees’ needs.
  • We educate employee groups about their benefits in the context of personal financial planning including saving, investing, debt management, and planning for the unexpected.

Using a personalized Financial Fitness Assessment and a multi-media approach that includes workshops, webcasts, telephone counseling, web-based education/tools, and communications, we empower employees to help them achieve their goals.

 Sources: 

https://www.kansascityfed.org/publicat/cap/carwp09-01.pdf

https://www.kansascityfed.org/publicat/cap/carwp09-01.pdf

“Personal Income and Outlays,” press release, Bureau of Economic Analysis, August 28, 2009.