Almost all employees (93%) of employers want to provide financial planning and advisory services, but only a third (28%) of companies do so. That’s according to new research from Origin, which asked 1,000 American workers about their financial health status.
This is not surprising to see. Between the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Great Resignation, employees are stressed about money — and they turn to their employers for support.
So what does this mean to you? Indicates that 2022 will be a big A year for financial wellness benefits – now it’s time to start preparing to support your clients in the field. Of course, a common question you’ll hear from companies is: How do I choose the right financial solution for my workforce?
This is what I will explore in this article. While there’s a lot more to unpack, I’ll keep it simple and share the top four things counselors should look for when helping clients check out a financial wellness program.
1. Comprehensive program
There is a lot of confusion about the exact definition of a financial wellness program. Here’s all about the Financial Wellness Program No: It is not a 401(k) program. It is not a budget app. It is not a financial education curriculum.
A true financial wellness program combines tools, education, and resources to help employees take action to achieve their goals – whether it’s to pay off their debts or save up to buy a home. So if employees are asking for financial wellness benefits, it is not enough to host a financial education webinar and call them daily. Or hand out an app to track expenses for employees and predict their financial stress will go away.
Counselors and their employer clients should seek out a comprehensive and comprehensive offer that will create lasting behavioral changes.
2. An unbiased third party provider
Now that we’ve defined what exactly your financial wellness benefits are, it’s crucial to helping your clients choose the right provider. The most important thing to look for is an unbiased third-party benefits vendor. What do I mean by this exactly?
Unfortunately, many financial services companies try to sell their products and services under the guise of financial wellness benefits. You should avoid these providers because they will most likely not put the interest of your customer’s employees first. Their motivation will be to maximize their own profits. Always look for an unbiased seller who operates independently of any financial institutions or companies.
3. Character, direct 1 on 1
A recent report found that two-thirds of workers want to make informed decisions about their investments, but don’t know how, and nearly half (44%) use a simple search, such as Google or Bing, for advice. While it is possible to find good financial advice on the Internet, there are better methods to follow.
Each person’s financial circumstances, goals and abilities are unique. Given this, a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t really make sense when it comes to financial wellness benefits. That’s why I encourage you to help your clients look for a solution that offers some form of one-to-one personal financial guidance for their employees.
But don’t most employees already work with a financial planner or advisor? Unfortunately no. In fact, a survey found that 99% of Americans do not use a financial advisor. The truth is that these services tend to be out of reach for most people – mainly due to the cost, which can run into thousands of dollars each year.
That’s why offering your clients this kind of guidance through a financial wellness program is so powerful. Not only does it provide their employees with what they need, but it also relieves them of the cost (and stress) of having to search for this type of service themselves.
4. Strong credentials
If your customers will provide personalized financial guidance, be sure to let them know your seller network credentials.
I personally encourage companies to choose a financial wellness program that uses Certified Financial Planners™ (CFP®). These professionals are required to complete coursework, take exams, and gain real-world experience in order to receive their designation. Most importantly, all CFP® professionals are fiduciary standards bound, which means they have to work for the employees.
And if you’re curious, yes, financial advisors are different from financial planners. While some financial advisors also adhere to the fiduciary standard, it is not required. This means that your client’s employees may be at risk of receiving biased or malicious instructions.
As you check the credentials, you may also want to see if the benefits vendor cares about the diversity of their schemes. Because everyone has different experiences, perspectives, and ideas when it comes to money, you want employees to have access to CFP® professionals who represent a variety of backgrounds—including those who specialize in advising individuals from BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, veterans, and woman.
Financial wellness benefits will only continue to raise your customer’s priority list, whether they plan to use it as a retention tool, a strategy to attract new talent, or simply to meet the most pressing needs of their workers. We hope this article helps you start conversations about financial wellness with the companies you work with. Together, you can create an offer that has a positive and meaningful impact on their employees.
Chad Schneider is the Head of Broker Partnerships at Origin. He is an expert in the insurance industry for 20 years. Chad recently joined Origin and over the past four years has built the medium and carrier channel for Jellyvision as Vice President of Strategic Alliances. Prior to that he was Head of Sales for Code SixFour, a consulting automation tool for brokers. Chad spent nearly 14 years with Aflac and was a pioneer in its broker strategy.