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Employees’ Financial Health Increasingly Important to Employers

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The number of employers taking responsibility for their employees’ financial health is growing, according to a recent Bank of America Merrill Lynch Workplace Benefits Report.

Eighty-three percent of employers now say they feel an obligation to help employees improve their financial wellness, which impacts the benefits and education employers provide, says the report. The report is based on 1,020 companies of all sizes with retirement plans.
Three-quarters of retirement plan sponsors, including 90 percent of large companies, believe that financial wellness solutions will be standard elements of benefits packages in the future, with large companies leading the way in implementing programs. Large companies for the survey are defined as those with $100 million or more in 401(k) plan assets.

In the past year, the number of large companies offering employees financial education on topics including budgeting, planning for health-care costs and managing debt has significantly increased, says Bank of America.

“Today’s plan sponsor must look beyond 401(k) enrollment and participation. As the survey underscores, there is a growing need for companies to consider their benefits offering more holistically and provide more comprehensive financial education and solutions that can address today’s challenges such as managing rising health-care costs,” says David Tyrie, head of retirement and personal wealth solutions for Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

According to the survey, plan sponsors believe utilizing financial wellness programs also make good business sense. The employees who use the programs become more satisfied (78 percent), loyal (70 percent), engaged (68 percent) and productive (57 percent).