Debt Inhibits Workers from Saving

Fifty-seven percent of workers would like to make their own financial decisions but have someone validate those decisions, and 31% want specific advice, PwC found.

Cash flow and debt challenges continue to plague employees, inhibiting their ability to save sufficiently, PwC found in a survey. Fewer employees feel their compensation is keeping up with their cost of living.

PwC says these findings should prompt employers to revisit their financial wellness programs to ensure that they are addressing the challenges their employees are facing and motivating them to make improvements to their overall financial well-being and retirement readiness.

Asked what is causing them stress, 59% said financial matters and/or challenges. Only 15% said their job; 12%, relationships; and 10%, health concerns.

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Forty-nine percent said they find it difficult to meet household expenses on time each month. Eighty-two percent expect to be working during retirement (50% part-time and 32% full-time). A mere 18% are not planning on working in retirement.

Fifty-seven percent of workers would like to make their own financial decisions but have someone validate those decisions. Thirty-one percent want specific advice. A mere 12% do not want any help.

These findings indicate that plan sponsors need to revisit their financial wellness programs, Kent Allison, a partner and national leader of PwC’s Employee Education and Wellness Practice, tells PLANADVISER. First off, many of these “financial wellness” programs are simply retirement planning programs that have been renamed, Allison says. They need to holistically cover all of the financial challenges an individual might be facing, not just retirement savings, he adds.

The financial wellness program should be part of a company’s other wellness benefits. Because these various benefits and tools are offered by various providers, they exist in silos. What employers should do is offer these benefits on a single website or digital platform and direct workers to the various benefits based on whatever challenges or needs they have, he says.

“It’s our experience that the most effective financial wellness programs are positioned as part of the broader company wellness initiative,” Allison says. “For example, those that are integrated with an existing health wellness program seem to have higher engagement rates and more measurable results.” And like rewards that are sometimes offered in health wellness programs, employers should consider doing the same for their financial wellness programs, to drive positive behaviors, he says.

The website and digital platform should also be supported with coaches to whom workers can reach out, he adds. In general, employers need to espouse an overall “culture of well-being,” he maintains.