Article

HR Answers: The ROI of Financial Wellness

hand adding to stacks of coins next to a notebook and stethoscope representing financial wellness
By Financial Finesse

3 minutes

New predictive model finds large employers could save over $65 million from improved retirement preparedness.

Financial Finesse’s Financial Wellness Think Tank recently released new predictive model research quantifying the improvements in employee retirement preparedness which generate return on investment for an employer by reducing the costs of delayed retirements. “2018 Special Report: The ROI of Improving Employee Retirement Preparedness” found that for a 50,000-employee company, this could lead to a savings of $65 million or more per year.

Major findings from the ROI predictive model include:

  • Repeated engagement with financial wellness programs that improves average workforce financial health from a 4.0 to a 6.0 (on a 10-point scale) increases employee retirement plan contribution rates by a factor of 38 percent from original rates.
  • With program engagement and increased plan contribution, the projected average workforce age at which an employee can retire and replace 80 percent of their income drops two years, from 68.95 years to 66.96 years.
  • When applied across a total workforce of 50,000 employees, that reduction in average retirement age could generate powerful employer savings of over $65 million.
  • Reductions in retirement age occur across all career stages, with employees under 35 seeing the largest reduction (2.67 years) and older employees still seeing a reduction of one year. This suggests that comprehensive financial wellness programs which repeatedly engage employees can be effective in mitigating the current costs of delayed retirement as well as future costs.
  • Even modest improvements in employee financial wellness generate meaningful savings. An improvement of the average workforce financial wellness from 4.0 to 5.0 (on a 10-point scale) leads to a 17.85 percent increase in retirement plan contribution rates, reducing the average projected retirement age by one year. This could generate over $33 million in savings from reducing delayed retirements for large companies.

Liz Davidson, CEO and founder of Financial Finesse, El Segundo, California, says that quantifying the cost savings from improved retirement preparedness enhances the financial wellness firm’s original predictive ROI model, recognized by Society of Actuaries in 2017 with a first place award. The patent-pending model is in use at hundreds of organizations and has become the industry standard to determine efficacy of financial wellness programs.

Davidson notes that improvements in employee financial wellness are incremental and increase with the number of interactions, so organizations should focus on creating multiple channels to reach employees and engagement techniques that encourage them to keep coming back.

Think Tank Director Greg Ward, CFP, says that the financial wellness program repertoire for increasing retirement preparedness and decreasing delayed retirements includes an easy-to-use retirement calculator, auto-enrollment, auto-escalation and one-on-one financial coaching. “Financial wellness programs that include financial coaching help employees break through blocks to retirement savings by tackling debt and student loans, managing cash flow and navigating important life goals like marriage, parenthood and home ownership,” Ward explains. “Results are cumulative and interact with each other, so the longer a company has a holistic financial wellness benefit in place, the more workforce financial wellness shifts.”

Davidson’s guidance for large organizations considering implementing a workplace financial wellness benefit is to start with a financial wellness assessment to customize the program for specific staff demographics and vulnerabilities. She recently created an online continuing education course for creating an effective financial wellness program on FiduciaryEducation.com, which offers HR and financial professionals guidance for implementing a program that changes employee financial behaviors and delivers ROI on a broad scale.

To download the Financial Finesse report, visit https://ffinesse.app.box.com/v/2018ROIReportImproveRetirement.

Financial Finesse, based in El Segundo, California, is the largest independent provider of unbiased workplace financial wellness programs in the country, delivering holistic financial coaching and guidance that helps employees improve their financial wellness. The firm’s programs cover every area of financial planning and cost employees nothing out of pocket since they are fully paid for by their employers. Financial Finesse’s programs are proven to change lives, provided through a variety of channels such as mobile financial coaching, live events, interactive webcasts, one-on-one financial counseling sessions and a financial helpline staffed by CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals who do not sell any financial products or manage assets.
 

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