Financial Wellness Wanted, and It’s in Short Supply

Nearly three-quarters of employees (71%) think financial wellness should be offered to them, according to a survey.

Additionally, just 33% of employees say they have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at work, and of these only 27% say the program includes financial planning help, according to the 2014 Four Seasons Financial Education (FSFE) Financial Wellness Survey. Nonetheless, an overwhelming majority, 55%, have never used the financial planning component of their EAP.

Asked about their most important financial concerns, the majority first cited retirement, followed by budgeting and debt, investments, overall financial planning, insurance, college planning and tax planning.

As to how often the professionals associated with their retirement plan provide education, 32% said never, 13% said once every two years, 32% said once a year, 12% said twice a year and 11% said more than twice a year. The fact that nearly one-third of employees receive no retirement plan education at their workplace is a surprising result, considering compliance requirements, FSFE says.

Among those who receive financial education at their workplace, the most common topic is retirement, followed by investments, insurance, basic financial planning (budgeting, saving, debt management), tax planning and college planning.

Asked whether they have met with an independent certified financial planner (CFP), 72% of employees surveyed said no. If they could receive personalized, confidential advice from a CFP with their employer footing the bill, 68% said they would take advantage of it.

“Our findings confirm our premise that employers who provide financial wellness benefits to their employees are reducing costs and increasing productivity,” says FSFE President Travis Freeman. “We’ve worked with some very good retirement plan advisers who educate plan participants at least [once] each year, but it appears there is a large employer segment that receives no education at all.”