What do financial wellness programs look like today? 09/03/2015 Alliant Credit Union’s newly released white paper, Financial Wellness in the Workplace 2015, documents how well financial wellness programs are faring in the United States today. Financial wellness programs are still in their formative years, with more businesses offering them as an employee benefit. Currently, about 40% of U.S. companies or organizations offer a financial wellness program, according to Alliant’s January 2015 online survey, administered to a national sample of senior HR decision makers in companies or organizations with more than 1,000 employees. But how comprehensive are today’s financial wellness programs? Alliant found that some companies view financial programs as little more than teaching employees how best to use the company retirement plan. Others expand the definition to include some basic financial education courses. But increasingly, companies are appreciating the value of a comprehensive financial wellness program that addresses the specific needs of its employees – a robust program that empowers them with a range of tools to help them make informed, effective decisions about managing their money. “Financial wellness in the workplace is in its infancy,” notes Alliant Vice President of Business Development Kathy Hall. “Just as health wellness programs have changed dramatically over the past 10 years, financial wellness programs are being redefined.” To ascertain how comprehensive today’s financial wellness programs are, we listed 11 components that a robust financial wellness program may include. Only 11% of our respondents answered that their company’s financial wellness program contained all those components. Alliant found that these are the components of a financial wellness program that companies now offer: 65% Retirement planning 52% Medical/health care cost planning programs 44% Confidential employee self-assessments of their finances 41% Tracking tools for goal attainment 38% Investment planning programs 35% Targeted/customized financial education 34% Incentives/rewards for participation 27% Privacy/security/fraud protection advice 26% Saving for college programs 23% Managing debt programs 22% Day-to-day financial guidance Alliant’s survey also revealed 63% of U.S. companies with a financial wellness program offer financial education courses, but only 35% of them target the courses and customize them to the specific needs of their workforce. The Alliant white paper includes best practices on how to develop and implement a financial wellness program, based on interviews with HR executives, secondary research and Alliant’s experience offering financial wellness programs for its business partners. The paper concludes with the observation that the key is to implement a financial wellness program that addresses the unique needs of both employees and employers. The best option for employers may be to explore a low- to no-cost financial wellness program provider, one that they feel comfortable consulting with and can trust. The Financial Wellness in the Workplace 2015 paper sheds light on the various options available to employers and exposes the considerable need for workforce financial wellness programs. “By providing employees the time and resources needed to make thoughtful financial decisions, employers can realize a more engaged and productive workforce,” says Hall. Get your free copy of the full Financial Wellness in the Workplace 2015 white paper.