PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 19

FINANCIAL WELLNESS | COVER STORY
The idea of a one-on-one meeting can intimidate people,
Huber recognizes. Often, he will do a group financial wellness
meeting for a client in the morning and offer one-onone
consultations in the afternoon. " The employees can put a
face to the name when they go to the group meeting, and, all
of a sudden, it seems less intimidating to go to a one-on-one
meeting, " he says.
" For almost everybody we talk to, we are the first financial
adviser they've spoken to, so we find that two of the most important
words for these meetings are 'confidential' and 'complimentary.' "
People feel more comfortable when they understand
upfront that the adviser will not share with the employer what
they discuss and that the meeting is free of charge, he says.
6
Make communications targeted. Messaging needs
to be relevant to individual employees and their specific
financial issues, Lattimer says. At the start of a program, FinFit
asks the client's employees to take an online financial wellness
assessment, so the firm can get a holistic understanding of each
person's financial challenges and opportunities. The 32-question
assessment takes less than 10 minutes to complete and
covers four major pillars of financial wellness: saving, spending,
borrowing and planning. " Part of it is a sentiment analysis,
asking questions such as 'How do you feel about your spending
patterns?' " he says. Some questions ask for quantitative data,
such as " 'What percentage of your take-home pay do you save?' "
Gulseth, though, says it is unlikely that all employees will
do an initial self-assessment. " I'm not sure that all the people
who are financially stressed are going to admit it, especially to
their employer, " he says. " But there are signals you can get, as an
employer, that are not survey-related-they are payroll-related. "
For example, one of the biggest mistakes many pre-retirees
make is to decide to start taking Social Security benefits as
soon as they can, at age 62. " As employees near 62, just based
on their age alone, you can know it's worth feeding them some
information on this issue, " Gulseth says. " You can send targeted
messaging that asks, 'Do you want to talk to somebody one on
one about one of the biggest financial decisions that people make
in their life?' That's a nudge for every employee who is 61 years
old, so they don't make a bad decision when they're 62. "
7
Provide timely, realistic action steps. How and when
employees get approached about financial wellness topics
makes a big difference, Gulseth says. " You need to make the education
specific, relevant and 'just in time' before they make a decision
on the issue, " he says. " Eighty to 90% of folks want a simple
rule of thumb, given to them right before they need to make a decision. "
Education about how to take out a mortgage will resonate
with people in that process or about to start it, for example, not
with someone who has little interest in buying a home.
Timing is important to get utilization of a program,
Lattimer agrees. " Nobody wakes up and says, 'I'm going to get
financially fit today.' So we start our programs with a focus on:
How do we solve an employee's short-term financial challenge?
Six out of 10 folks in the workforce live paycheck to paycheck.
Literally, any small negative event or market shock can derail
somebody's life. We use that moment of 'Hey, I need financial
help now' as a way to increase utilization of the program. "
Starting with a focus on immediate issues such as budgeting
and credit card debt generates more interest than longer-term
financial issues, he says.
Many people need guidance on taking incremental baby
steps to start easing their specific financial stressors, Davis says.
Thinking about saving three months of pay in an emergency
savings fund can seem daunting, but a step-by-step plan to begin
that fund by saving $1,000 seems more doable, for example.
" I'm a 'checklist' kind of person. If you give me a checklist,
I'm happy to work on it and check things off all day long, " Davis
says. " And I think a lot of people are like that. " -Judy Ward
It's a Process,
Not an Event
To get the payoff from a financial
wellness program, for both employees
and employer, takes time
" As an industry, we used to think of a financial wellness
program as an event: You had a 'lunch and learn'
session and got everyone excited to come to that event
with the free food you provided, " Financial Finesse's
Liz Davidson says. " Today, we understand that a financial
wellness program isn't an event, it's a process,
and it takes time. It's the same as physical fitness: It's
not like you can just eat your vegetables one day and
become physically fit. "
Financial wellness is a lifestyle choice, Davidson says.
" There's a series of ongoing decisions that people have
to make about their finances, such as 'I got a meritpay
increase-what do I do with it?' How people make
those decisions, over time, can be life-changing in
terms of their financial security. "
So she suggests that employers think of their program
as a multi-year endeavor. " Employers are looking at an
ROI [return on investment] after three years, five years,
seven years and more, " she says. " They recognize that
people don't transform their finances overnight, and,
therefore, you can't reduce the variables that effect the
ROI, overnight. " -JW
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PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021

To Ensure All Are Well
2021 PLANSPONSOR National Conference
Equipped for Anything?
The Security of Savings
Take a Load Off
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - Cover1
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - Cover2
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 1
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PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 3
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PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - To Ensure All Are Well
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 17
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 18
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 19
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 2021 PLANSPONSOR National Conference
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PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - Equipped for Anything?
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 31
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PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - The Security of Savings
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 35
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - Take a Load Off
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 37
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 38
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PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 40
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - Cover3
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