Employers to Focus on Financial Wellness

Three-fourths (76%) of companies surveyed are somewhat or very likely to expand their focus on the financial well-being of their employees in 2014.

Aon Hewitt surveyed more than 400 U.S. companies, representing nearly 10 million workers, and found more companies plan to offer access to advice, tools and resources that help employees examine their overall financial picture.

Companies are providing these types of advisory services through a variety of channels:

  • Online: More than four in 10 employers (44%) currently provide access to online third-party investment advisory services, and another 14% are somewhat or very likely to offer it in 2014;
  • Phone: More than one-third (35%) of companies provide access to third-party financial advisers via phone, and another 14% are somewhat or very likely to do so in the next 12 months; and
  • Face-to-Face: Nearly one-quarter (23%) of employers offer face-to-face meetings with financial advisers, and another 10% are somewhat or very likely to offer this in 2014.

According to the survey results, a growing number of employers realize basic money management plays a critical role in an individual’s financial well-being. To ensure workers are able to pay for day-to-day living expenses, one-quarter of employers are very likely to provide some assistance to employees to help with budgeting.

Employers continue to offer options to provide workers with a simple and straightforward approach to investing. Most employers surveyed (79%) offer target-date funds in their defined contribution plans as a turn-key approach to saving. Of those that do not currently offer them, 36% are somewhat or very likely to add this feature in 2014. More than one-third (39%) of companies offer managed accounts, with nearly one-quarter (24%) of the remaining group being somewhat or very likely to offer them in the year ahead.

“In the past, companies were primarily concerned about whether workers were participating in their 401(k) plans, but we’re now seeing employers expand their focus beyond just retirement savings to help workers improve their overall financial health,” said Rob Austin, director of retirement research at Aon Hewitt. “Employers understand that workers can’t adequately save for retirement if they don’t have their financial house in order.”

A full report of survey results may be downloaded from here.