Just as a company’s workforce changes over time, so do the components in company benefit packages in order to effectively meet the needs of employees, while still allowing companies to maintain cost-effective programs. A new trend cropping up in employee benefit plans are financial wellness programs.
With the newer millennial workforce juggling student loan payments, trying to establish an emergency savings nest egg and trying to set goals for long-term savings such as a 401(k), many feel they need professional financial advice in order to gain control of their financial picture. Sylvie Feist, director of financial guidance services at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, states, “We see financial wellness becoming a new employee benefit”.
Although these programs are still in their infancy, one company, VCA — a national provider of pet healthcare services, has set up a financial wellness program for employees in their Los Angeles office. VCA, as part of their benefit package, offers employees home ownership and budgeting sessions with professional advisors. VCA eventually plans to roll out similar programs to all 20,000 of its employees across the nation.
There is no one-size-fits-all type of financial wellness program. Employers are experimenting with webinars, one-on-one meetings with financial advisors, phone calls and group sessions. One thing that seems fairly certain is that employees are interested in receiving relevant financial information. They want to learn how to cover all their loans and expenses in order to live at least affordably, if not comfortably now, while still setting and achieving goals for lifelong savings.
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