When we talk about workplace benefits, we often associate it with health insurance, paid leaves, life insurance and retirement plans. While these are very important benefits, there is another one that more companies should incorporate into their employee benefits package: Financial Wellness.
A report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch stated that 95% of employers who have a financial wellness program in place found that the program helped the company reach its goals. It also has a positive impact on employee satisfaction, stress levels, employee turnover and productivity.
This is especially necessary for women professionals. In the same report, 47% of women employees state that they are less than financially well, compared to 29% of men.
Another study from Merill Lynch, in partnership with Age Wave indicates that while women are as confident in financial tasks like budgeting and paying bills in as men, this confidence drops significantly when it comes to confidence in managing investments. Only 52% of women declared confidence in investment management compared to 68% of men. Even with the disparity in confidence, women do understand the importance of wealth building, with 84% of women agreeing that “their finances is a key to greater career flexibility.”
Investing in the financial wellness of all talents, not just women talent, is beneficial to both employer and employees.
How can companies help their employees, particularly women, become more financially sound? Here are some basic tips:
1. Make Money Talk the Norm
For many women, talking about money is simply taboo. The same Merill Lynch study indicated that 61% of women would rather talk about death than money. But this hesitance to address issues does not help women’s need to increase their financial literacy. Companies need to try to make money talk part of their company culture. It’s not about sharing how much they make, but more of a freedom to share what they can do with their money, what expenses or investments are setting them back and even how to fairly divide the lunch bill.
2. Center Finance Talk Around Women’s Goals
As with any financial planning, it needs to be centered around what their goals are. Merill Lynch’s study indicated that 77% of women associate their money with what they can do for their families. This needs to be broken down further, are they concerned about education of children? Caregiving for their parents? Their financial planning should be uniquely attuned to what their goals are personally.
3. Offer Seminars, Mentorship and Training
The lack of confidence in managing investments stems from a lack of information. Companies can encourage financial wellness by offering educational tools that will help build their knowledge and confidence in making their money work for them.
4. Encourage Sponsorship of Women
Advancing your career is absolutely necessary to enable women to earn more and invest more. While mentorship is very important, women are in dire need of sponsors in the workplace who will advocate for their career growth and provide opportunities to help them step up the career ladder.
Rise and Lead Women’s current rank of sponsors includes Elliott Lloyd International and AON. Both are established names in the finance industry. They have shared both monetary support and knowledge on financial planning and wellness with the Rise and Lead Network. We look forward to collaborating more with both companies to help advance women’s financial literacy in their career or businesses.
Elliot Lloyd International, where Clare is a Senior Adviser, offers tailored financial services. They offer their clients financial plans to help them achieve financial goals and manage their wealth. Their services include investment and financial planning, retirement planning, inheritance planning, savings, insurance and more.
AON is global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions. They use proprietary data and analytics to advise clients on how to improve performance and reduce volatility.