PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 35

PARTICIPANTS SPECIAL ISSUE | WELLNESS
then they put that out for a vote by their
employees. "
Troy Hammond, founder and
CEO of Pensionmark Financial Group
in Santa Barbara, California, however,
recommends a much broader approach
when designing a customized program.
Although a few financial stressors such
as a lack of emergency savings may be
most common, he says, in reality, an organization's
employees have diverse financial
issues that span a wide spectrum of
topics. If someone looks for help about her
specific issue and the financial wellness
program has nothing relevant to offer,
the employee may not engage with the
program again, Hammond says.
Instead, he suggests customizing
the topics to each employee when the
person first engages with the program.
Pensionmark's program runs the gamut
of potential topics and asks each new
financial wellness program participant a
series of basic questions when the person
registers online. For example, what are his
top five financial priorities? Does he have
a budget? Does he have debt? Then, the
narrowing-down happens. " We tell them,
'Talk to us about your priorities, and let's
start there,' " Hammond says. " You [hypothetically]
told us that your No. 1 financial
concern is not having an emergency
savings fund. So let's create a specific goal
for your emergency savings, and a strategy
and monthly goals to get you there in the
next 12 months. "
Know the main cost variables. The
amount employers spend on a customized
financial wellness program varies widely,
Mayer says. " The fee will be based on the
amount of time the program lasts, the
scope of the services the employer wants
us to offer, and the frequency at which
the employer wants its employees to have
access to one-on-one meetings with us, "
he says. " Some companies want us on-site
to do participant meetings twice a month,
and then we have others that want us
there once a quarter. And the employee
count will be a factor in the cost, too. "
" Now our message is, 'Even if you
have never saved a dime or created
a budget, no problem, we'll meet
you right where you are.' "
Launch with realistic messaging.
" A mistake we made early on was to come
to employees and say, 'This is where
you should be' and try to bring them to
that point, " Hammond says. Now our
message is, 'Even if you have never saved
a dime or created a budget, no problem,
we'll meet you right where you are.' " He
recommends messaging that clearly lets
employees know: Don't be intimidated
about this program. " Many people, especially
in the beginning of the program, are
embarrassed to get on the phone and say,
'How do I even start creating a budget?' "
he says. " We tell them, 'We're [just] here
to help. And we're not trying to sell you
anything. Let's just talk, figure out where
you're at and go from there. "
Offer one-on-one meetings. Group
meetings do not lend themselves to people
talking about their personal finances
with an adviser, Lander says. " When you
do these one-on-ones, people do start
talking about their own personal situation.
But when you're in a group meeting,
if you have a financial problem, are you
really going to raise your hand and say
what it is, in front of everybody? We find
that people are very open in the one-onone
meetings, and they're thirsty for
information. "
At its one-on-one meetings, Shepherd
Financial asks employees to identify their
most pressing financial issue currently,
and then the adviser talks about how to
start resolving it. This includes setting
short-term, intermediate-term and longterm
goals, as well as actionable guidance
on achievable first steps the person
can take. " For some people, it's just one
meeting, " Mayer says, " but for many individuals,
we're forming relationships with
them, and trust is earned over time in
multiple meetings. "
Provide incentives to engage.
Some employers put in a financial wellness
program as part of their total wellness
program, and employees get rewards
for attending a financial wellness session,
Mayer says. " If they watch a webinar or
go to an on-site meeting, they can receive
discounts on their health insurance
premium from the employer, " he says.
" That's been a big incentive to get people
to engage. " Other clients have done prize
raffles for people who participate in the
financial wellness program, he adds.
Gamify for participants. Pensionmark
assigns a point total to every activity
in its program, weighting each activity
based on the positive impact it potentially
can have on someone's financial wellness.
Higher points come from performing
actions such as the employee establishing
an account on the Pensionmark financial
wellness app, linking her external
financial accounts and having one-on-one
meetings.
Hammond offers a hypothetical
example of how the program gets gamified
for participants. " We can tell
someone, 'You've earned 48,000 points
from everything you've done in the
program. That compares with a 25,000point
average in your company, and a
26,000-point average across the country.
And this quarter, the person who has the
most points in your company gets a $100
Amazon gift card, " he says.
That is motivational for many individuals,
Hammond says. " People enjoy
games, and they just are naturally competitive. "
-Judy Ward
PLANSPONSOR.COM February - March 2022 35
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PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022

INSIGHTS
INDUSTRY ANALYSIS
RULES & REGULATIONS
UPFRONT
Let’s Talk
Let It Grow
When Workers Retire in Stages
Virtual Lessons Learned
Managed Accounts, Today
How ‘Well’ Is ‘Well’ Enough?
Differentiation by Income
FIDUCIARY FORUM
INSIDE ANGLE
PLAN PROFILE
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - Cover1
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - Cover2
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 1
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - INSIGHTS
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 3
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - INDUSTRY ANALYSIS
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 5
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - RULES & REGULATIONS
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 7
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 8
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 9
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - UPFRONT
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 11
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 12
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 13
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 14
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 15
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 16
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 17
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - Let’s Talk
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 19
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 20
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 21
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - Let It Grow
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 23
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 24
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 25
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - When Workers Retire in Stages
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 27
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 28
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 29
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - Virtual Lessons Learned
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 31
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - Managed Accounts, Today
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 33
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - How ‘Well’ Is ‘Well’ Enough?
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 35
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - Differentiation by Income
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - 37
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - FIDUCIARY FORUM
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - INSIDE ANGLE
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - PLAN PROFILE
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - Cover3
PLANSPONSOR - February - March 2022 - Cover4
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