As an industry-leader, we’ve spent countless hours educating plan participants and encouraging them to save for retirement. We provide education on an alphabet soup of retirement jargon–tax advantages, compound interest, automatic enrollment, asset allocation, capital preservation and more.
However, there are often other issues that affect an employee’s ability to contribute to the plan—credit card debt, college tuition, basic living expenses and outstanding medical bills. These personal financial worries can spill over into the workplace, affecting job performance. A study by the American Psychological Association found that lost productivity due to stress costs employers upwards of $7,000/year per stressed employee.
Financial stress also causes employees to take hardship withdrawals, plan loans and reduce contribution amounts. These choices further compound their long-term financial situation.
Many employers are now focusing on comprehensive health and wealth wellness programs, including education on budgeting, debt, financial-emotional stability, and creating workable financial strategies. Interestingly, the most effective promotion for these programs comes from co-workers—not management, according to a survey from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. Recruiting a few key employees to help promote available services may remove the stigma of asking for financial help.