If 2020 has taught us anything it is that seismic global events like a pandemic can have a direct impact on everyone’s daily lives including their financial well-being. The job insecurity and market instability created by the COVID-19 outbreak significantly altered many Americans’ economic health with 47% finding it difficult to cover an unexpected expense beyond $250.
Heading into 2021, employers are coming to terms with the overwhelming need to take care of their employees’ financial wellness, now more than ever. To do so, companies are incorporating highly tailored financial wellness programs that educate, guide, and reassure their workforce. Employees gravitate to different financial wellness markers based on their own set of circumstances but the following three will set the trend in the new year:
1) Catered Health Options—Financial worries take a toll on most workers’ health. Yet, navigating the health system and its various insurance plans generates even greater difficulties. An effective 2021 financial wellness program will need to promote a variety options beyond the typical forms of coverage such as HSA/FSA accounts with employer matching; built-in vision, dental, and mental health coverage; or expanded family benefits.
2) Short-Term Savings Plans—More than likely, the economic crisis a worker needs to face is a short-term rather than long-term one. Understanding this, employers may find that setting up short-term savings plans would allow employees to navigate around the crisis with the added support of readily available funds.
3) Long-Term, Personalized Financial Education—Overcoming the short-term financial crisis does not mean workers forget about long-term financial stability. Employees who interact with a financial wellness program on a consistent basis contribute more to their retirement plans than those whose financial education occurs once a year, if at all. Current technological advances allow for such education to be tailored and easily accessible.
2021 will still involve comprehensive adjustments to a volatile norm. Yet, companies should also acknowledge that taking responsibility for its employees’ financial wellness is not isolated from factors affecting its own bottom line.