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Financial wellness services are in demand, and employees are looking to their employers for assistance. According to Alegeus, a consumer-directed healthcare company, 69% of workers say their employer doesn't offer any financial well-being support or benefits. Additionally, 57% said they would like these benefits in the future, and 62% said it's an employers' responsibility to provide them.
So if you're running into financial hardships or just want to become more financially educated, it's important to find out if your employer offers any financial wellness programs.
Select investigated to start if you're interested in participating in your employer's financial wellness programs.
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In July, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman and Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol appeared on CNBC's "Squawk Box" and spoke about investing in their employees' financial wellbeing, or lack thereof.
"When we did a survey of our employees, almost half of them were struggling to make ends meet," Schulman said. This mirrors many Americans' financial position, as only 39% of Americans can afford a $1,000 emergency expense.
With this grim reality at hand, both companies, along with Chobani, Even, Prudential Financial and Verizon formed the Workers Financial Wellness Initiative. This initiative highlights a commitment to making employee financial wellness a top priority.
While some companies are trying to be more proactive about communicating what benefits they offer, it still may be difficult to find what's available through your job. So, if you're searching for financial resources from your employer, where should you get started?
Start by speaking with your human resources department
Your company's human resources department will be able to direct you to any potential resources they have, including an EAP (employee assistance program), which offers a wide array of legal, financial and health services, or another similar program offering financial planning assistance. Make sure to ask if the benefit is complimentary or if there are any fees to use it.
For example, at NBCUniversal (Select's parent company), there's a free benefit for all employees to speak with financial advisors from Ayco, the personal financial management arm of Goldman Sachs. Ayco's purpose is to partner with employers to deliver financial wellness coaching to employees, including help navigating retirement, tax planning, budgeting, creating an emergency fund, purchasing a home and more.
It can seem intimidating to meet with a financial advisor, but think of it as going to the doctor. You're simply going for a checkup and will be directed towards solutions for any issues you may be facing. And regardless of if you're a personal finance expert or someone who is starting from square one, everyone can benefit from a financial checkup.
Additionally, you may want to check your company's employee portal. You'll likely find a section listing the benefits you're eligible for, including how to set up a financial coaching session.
How to plan for a meeting with a financial planner or coach
If your employer does offer any financial wellness services, your next step should be to think of questions for the financial planner you meet with.
It may also be helpful to have a file of recent financial documents so you can deliver the most accurate picture of your finances. CompassIowa, a financial services firm in Iowa, recommends bringing the following to your first meeting:
- Recent paystubs
- Recent tax returns
- Debt account statements (i.e. credit card statements)
- Investment and retirement account statements
- Bank account statements, annuity accounts and life insurance policies
- And any other other documents relating to debt, income or assets
Once you collect these documents, consider what you want to get out of the coaching session. Financial advisors or coaches can help you with fundamental personal finance knowledge such as: how to set up a budget, how to begin saving for a home, a debt-payoff plan or consolidating debt. Or if you need consulting on more strategic things like retirement, creating a will or liquidating investments, they should be able to help with these subjects as well.
Americans are feeling the squeeze at nearly every turn with rising inflation and stagnant wages. But by taking advantage of a financial advisor or coach, you can have one more tool to set yourself up for financial success.
Financial wellness services are common to come by, but you'll save time and money when using your workplace's low-cost or free benefits. Also keep in mind that your discussion with a financial advisor or coach is confidential and the details will not be disclosed to your employer — so you can feel comfortable sharing your truth.