The National Financial Educators Council defines financial wellness as follows: “Possessing the skills and knowledge on financial matters necessary to confidently take effective action that best fulfills an individual’s personal, family, and global community goals.1”
Although this definition makes a lot of sense, the Aegon Financial Wellbeing Index found that there was more to it than knowledge and skills2.
Here is what they found and how this knowledge can help you determine if your employee financial wellness program is really helping your employees achieve true financial health.
The Financial Wellbeing Index research looked at several factors when determining financial wellness. These factors included:
- Income level
- Budgeting skills
- Affordability of debt
- Looking to the future
- Having a financial plan
- Understanding what makes them happy
For the research, the first three were considered to be “money factors,” while the last three were considered to be “mindset factors.” The survey found that those with the healthiest financial wellness scores had the strongest mindset scores.
To put it another way, things like income, budgeting skills, and debt didn’t predict financial wellness nearly as accurately as how someone thought about money.
A Bit More About Mindset
Many people assume that the more money someone has, the better they feel financially. On the other hand, the less money someone has, the worse they feel.
The Aegon research found that although having money helps, it is only part of the equation.
For most of your employees, changing how much money they make, how much debt they have, or how much money they have in their retirement accounts cannot be done very quickly. These tangible “money factors” move slowly.
However, changing the way an employee sees their situation can make an enormous shift in their financial well-being score. This can be accomplished by helping them set a future financial goal and determining the steps needed to get there.
Additionally, employees who focus on using money wisely (rather than focusing on the amount of money they have) also have a higher score.
That is not to say that financial literacy is not important.
The Aegon research found that having a better understanding of personal finance topics and skills helped create the right mindset – a mindset that helps them assess how to use their money to provide the greatest satisfaction.
What Your Financial Wellness Plan Needs
Based on this research, your employee financial wellness plan needs several things.
#1: Financial Literacy
According to the PwC 2019 Employee Financial Wellness Survey3, your employees seek out specific financial information when they:
- Have to make an important financial decision (35%)
- Are in a financial crisis (26%)
- Experience a life event (10%)
- Never (8%)
- On an ongoing basis (3%)
This means that the financial wellness program you choose needs to be available 24/7 from any employee device.
It also needs to be well-promoted. Your employees must know this financial wellness program exists so that they know where to find it when the need arises.
#2: Goal Setting
The second feature an employee financial wellness program needs is a goal-setting component in which employees determine goals and the steps needed to get them where they want to be.
According to the Aegon research, over one-third of participants had no idea where they wanted to be financially in ten years, and eighty-seven percent had no financial plan to help them achieve long-term financial goals.
Setting goals can help employees gain financial wellness by:
- Staying accountable
- Seeing their progress
- Celebrating success along the way
- Feeling in control
#3: Money Mindset
Finally, your employee financial wellness program needs a money mindset component to help employees understand their relationship with money.
The program should guide employees to understand whether they are spenders or savings – and why. It should help them determine what makes them happy and how money fits into this happiness. It should also help them determine what money skills they have and which ones they need to work on.
Enrich’s financial wellness platform offers this component through our exclusive “Your Money Personality” assessment. This personality assessment helps employees learn about things like:
- Financial behaviors
- Money outlook
- Emotions concerning finances
- Financial focus
- Influences/influencers about money
- Financial strengths and challenges
Once an employee takes the assessment, they receive specific guidance to help them achieve financial wellness.
To learn how Enrich can help you address employee mindset as it relates to financial wellness, schedule a demo today.