SAN DIEGO—The San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) and San Diego-based financial education company iGrad have partnered to offer the award-winning Enrich™ financial wellness platform to the SDCWA’s 255 employees and the employees of its 24 member agencies.
The SDCWA was one of the 24 state and local government organizations awarded part of a $1.4 million grant¹ to improve employee financial knowledge and behaviors.
Funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation, the grant was administered via a collaboration between the Center for State & Local Government Excellence (SLGE), the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR) and the National Association of State Treasurers Foundation (NASTF).
Financial wellness has been a focus for public agencies for many years, but even more so in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the budget and economic crisis many employees face today.
Studies have shown that employees’ financial stress has a significant impact on work productivity, focus and engagement.
In January 2021, the SDCWA enhanced its financial wellness initiatives with the addition of Enrich and extended it to employees of its 24 member agencies.
In addition to offering the Enrich financial wellness platform, the SDCWA has launched additional educational workshops and activities to help educate and promote behavior change; provided resources and campaign materials to member agencies to promote financial wellness in their own agency; and facilitated activities and challenges that further promote short- and long-term financial planning with incentive prizes.
“Enrich is a great addition to our program,” said SDCWA Special Projects Manager Gretchen Spaniol. “The educational course content and financial tools work for employees at every stage in their life—from paying off student loans to buying a house and saving for retirement.”
Enrich features the Your Money Personality™ financial behavior assessment, which analyzes each user’s financial “personality.” The interactive, mobile-friendly platform also provides:
- Financial education courses with personalized action plans on topics including budgeting, mortgages, healthcare, college savings, student loan repayment, banking, credit, financial planning and more
- Retirement and home affordability analyzers
- A suite of student loan and higher education tools
- Personal finance calculators and a real-time budget tool
Enrich is used by more than 20,000 employers and more than 300 financial institutions nationwide, with artificial intelligence technology that engages each user with the most relevant content based on financial situation and stage of life.
The Enrich platform includes dynamic tools and courses, delivering a highly personalized learning experience on financial topics including student debt, mortgages, budgeting, investing, retirement and long-term care.
A report² by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence released in April 2020 found that only 29 percent of state and local government employers offer financial literacy programs to their workforce, while 68 percent of public employees would participate in these programs if they were offered one.
The report found that even before the pandemic, 88 percent of respondents worried about their personal finances and financial decisions, and 66 percent said they worried while at work.
According to a 2021 Capital One CreditWise survey³, 73 percent of Americans rank their finances as the most significant source of stress.
To combat financial stress, Enrich users are prompted to update their stress score about every four months to gauge the correlation between improved financial wellness and stress levels.
Data from 2019 shows that as Enrich participants improved financial understanding, their stress levels dropped.
Additional Enrich data found positive behavior changes as a result of program participation, including:
- 27 percent increase in emergency savings funds to cover three to six months of expenses
- 28 percent increase in credit cards being paid in full every month
- 32 percent increase in employees getting on track with their financial goals
“Financial stress is proven to negatively impact both physical and mental well-being, lower workplace productivity and increase healthcare costs,” said iGrad founder and President Rob LaBreche. “We are thrilled to be partnering with the SDCWA on this important financial wellness initiative.”
iGrad is a San Diego-based financial technology company that offers artificial intelligence-powered financial wellness solutions to more than 600 colleges and universities, more than 20,000 employers and more than 300 financial institutions. iGrad’s Your Money Personality™ was recently recognized by the Institute for Financial Literacy with the 2020 Excellence in Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Adults’ Education Program of the Year award. iGrad is one of three 2020 honorees in the inaugural Barron's Celebrates: Financial Empowerment, after being selected by a team of judges for its contributions to improving the financial health and security of Americans. iGrad also received the 2019 Eddy Award for Financial Wellness by Pensions & Investments for its Enrich platform. For more information about the iGrad platform, visit https://www.igradfinancialwellness.com. For more information about the Enrich platform for employers and financial institutions, visit https://www.enrich.org.
About the San Diego County Water Authority
The San Diego County Water Authority sustains a $245 billion regional economy and the quality of life for 3.3 million residents through a multi-decade water supply diversification plan, major infrastructure investments and forward-thinking policies that promote fiscal and environmental responsibility. A public agency created in 1944, the Water Authority delivers wholesale water supplies to 24 retail water providers, including cities, special districts and a military base. For more information, visit https://www.sdcwa.org.
2 -https://slge.org/news-posts/new-research-shows-state-and-local-public-employees-concerned-about-their-personal-finances https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/twenty-four-us-state--local-jurisdictions-awarded-employee-financial-wellness-grants-301131711.html
3 - https://www.cnbc.com/select/73-percent-of-americans-rank-finances-as-the-number-one-stress-in-life/