Bank of America Merrill Lynch launched a redesigned Benefits OnLine homepage to help plan participants advance their financial wellness and better navigate the wide range of financial stressors impacting employees today.
The new website will present employees with “a more simplified and interactive experience,” the firm says, while featuring data-driven recommendations.
The enhancements follow findings from Merrill Lynch’s 2017 Workplace Benefits Report demonstrating financial stress in the workplace is significantly impacting focus and productivity at work. The research shows employees spend a median of two hours a week, or 100 hours a year, taking care of finances while on the job and emphasizes the powerful role employers can play in helping employees navigate financial concerns and pursue their financial goals.
One dichotomy the survey found is that, while many employees are financially stressed, 87% are optimistic about their financial future. The top three reasons for this optimism are living within their means (51%), being in good health (49%) and having a well-paying job (45%). However, even optimistic employees have concerns. Among all employees, the top concern is running out of money in retirement, cited by 64%. The next concern is having to work longer than they had hoped for, cited by 61% of women and 51% of men. That is followed by not being able to work due to a serious illness (58% of women and 52% of men), not being able to pay for a child’s education (57% of women and 52% of men) and losing their job (45% of women and 46% of men).
Aimed at addressing these concerns, features of the redesigned participant homepage include a reimagined retirement income projection tool for plans with “Advice Access,” offering an interactive display of monthly and annual retirement income that a plan participant is projected to achieve.
Plain language and personal messaging to help participants better understand financial information, the firm says, while an expanded “My To Do List” features up to five recommended actions to improve participant plan behaviors and financial wellness.