Employers, it’s time to start talking about financial wellbeing
From today through to 22nd November, it’s Talk Money Week. We’ll help you start a conversation with your team members about financial education, savings and the long-term benefits that come with a positive financial outlook…
In Britain, we love a lengthy chat, be it over coffee, at the pub or at the school gates – but one topic that’s usually off the table is our finances.
Unfortunately, our reticence to discuss our financial affairs is having a negative long-term impact on our overall wellbeing, while nationally our financial understanding appears to be at crisis levels.
In fact, England and Northern Ireland now rank as two of the worst global performers on everyday numeracy tasks. Researchers from UCL and the University of Cambridge recently found that a third of UK shoppers aged between 16 and 65 couldn’t work out their change after a shopping trip while more than half were unable to interpret a basic graph displaying financial information. In the study, the UK ranked 27th, with Japan, Singapore and South Korea the top three performing countries and the US ranking 19th.
Why financial wellness matters
Poor understanding of financial matters and a lack of financial wellbeing can have a knock-on effect in the workplace, leading employees to feel undervalued, distracted and helpless, says healthassured.org. Severe mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and high stress levels can all be brought on by money-related tension while poor financial wellbeing can affect physical health if individuals struggle to purchase required medication, pay for gym memberships or buy healthful food and drinks for the entire family.
Experts warn that since pension freedoms were introduced four years ago, there is an increasing risk that individuals will make uninformed decisions about their retirement savings – a move they may later come to regret. Employees who make hasty decisions without consulting with a professional, regulated financial advice source may be faced with a permanent dent in their retirement income, and may end up paying more tax than necessary or making unwise investment choices.
But employers can take steps to prevent these occurrences, by starting conversations about financial wellbeing, by encouraging employees to improve their understanding of financial matters, and by connecting them with experts who can have a meaningful impact on their savings journey and long-term financial outlook.
Financial advice in the workplace
Financial advice as a workplace benefit is on the rise. In fact, nearly three times as many employers now offer access to financial advice as a workplace benefit than before, according to a report from financial education provider Wealth at Work.
Of the 290 employers who participated in the provider’s survey, 35 per cent offered the workplace benefit, compared with 12 per cent last year.
This suggests that today, financial wellbeing is rightly gaining recognition as a factor which can greatly impact employee satisfaction, motivation and ability to work. In addition to helping team members to build financial acumen and understanding through financial education programmes, employers play a vital role as gatekeepers connecting their employees with a trusted third-party source of financial advice.
Employers support their employees’ financial wellbeing by enabling them access to personalised advice from an experienced professional adviser, who can offer them guidance on how to invest according to their own specific circumstances and financial goals – whether that includes paying off a mortgage, paying school or university fees, or having a certain lifestyle after they begin their retirement.
But what do employees want from their financial advice? According to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans’ (IFEBP) 2018 survey, most employees want the following help and features from their workplace benefit financial advice service:
· The ability to track their individual progress and accomplishments
· Consistent attention on their journey and goals
· In-person, one-on-one meetings
· Step-by-step practical advice on how to improve their own financial wellness
How The Financial Options Group can help
Our firm provides specialist financial planning advice for corporate clients and their employees, delivering group pension schemes, corporate employee benefits, group medical insurance, group critical illness cover and group income protection. Further corporate finance services include corporate consultancy, business strategy and exit planning, as well as key person shareholder and succession planning.
The Financial Options Group currently manages pension schemes for more than 30 businesses, totalling more than 2,000 employees. More than half of these currently receive personalised financial advice services involving tailor-made recommendations, regular suitability assessments, face-to-face meetings and our five-star customer care – all giving business directors and corporate scheme members peace of mind that their financial wellness is being looked after.
If you would like to learn more about what The Financial Options Group can do for your business, call 0161 764 9944 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.