How To Measure Financial Education ROI

Providing financial education to workers isn’t free: it requires planning and resources and requires participants to step away from their work. How can you tell if it is working? In the recent International Foundation report Financial Education for Today’s Workforce: 2018 Survey Results, only 3% of polled organizations are measuring the return on their financial education initiatives. But don’t let that stop you. There are some simple steps you can take to quantify financial education ROI.

How To Measure Financial Education ROI

Here’s how to get started measuring financial education ROI:

1. Take a Baseline Measurement

The baseline measurements will depend upon your organization’s structure and the particular hurdles your participants are facing. Here are a few ideas to get you going:

  • Attendance at training sessions
  • Percentage (or number) of your participants currently contributing to their 401(k)/403(b) plans
  • Average contribution rate to savings plans
  • Number of workers contributing to their HSA
  • Number of requests for 401(k)/403(b) loans each year
  • Survey your workers prior to implementing your financial education to learn their pain points and basic level of financial literacy.

Free Resource: Financial Education Program Checklist

2. Set a Goal

If you want to be able to quantify your results, you will need to set goals that you can measure. Some sample goals may be:

  • Increase the percentage of workers contributing to their retirement account by 5%.
  • Aim to have 50% of all participants take advantage of matching benefit.
  • Decrease the percentage of workers who self-report as “extremely stressed” about financial matters on self-assessment by 10 percentage points.
  • Increase retirement class attendance by 20% compared with last year.

3. Implement Education Initiatives

Go for it! Create catchy e-mail invitations and roll out your initiative!

4. Measure and Compare

Conduct your followup survey and evaluate contribution levels. You might not be able to see a difference after a day. Not everybody will run back to their desk and immediately adjust their contribution rates. In fact, you may even need to post followup reminders so the training stays top-of-mind.

Once you are able to measure the new numbers, benchmark your results to your pretraining numbers. Be sure to review any comments that participants shared about the training.

How did it go? What went right? What could be changed for next time?

Related Reading: Best Practices for Workplace Financial Education

5. Take What You’ve Learned and Start Back at No. 1 Again

Change doesn’t happen overnight. Adjusting spending habits is tough. But with consistent messages over time, hopefully you will see positive changes.

What has your company done to promote financial literacy? What has worked? What hasn’t? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Rebecca Estrada
Research Analyst


Research Analyst at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Favorite Foundation service/product: I am biased, but I think all of the primary research that the Foundation does here is fantastic. We cover a large breadth of topics in great depth – I think it may be one of our most underused tools. Favorite Foundation conference/event moment: My first week on the job, I attended the “Essentials of Multiemployer Trust Fund Administration” class. I loved to see how much passion the attendees had for their job. They really want to help their participants. Benefits related topics that interest her most: Mental health, health insurance, and benefits! (Who doesn’t love great benefits!) Personal insight: Rebecca’s enthusiasm for data is contagious. Most days you’ll find her crunching numbers from the Foundation’s survey reports to shed light on the latest employee benefits trends. Rebecca applies her same enthusiastic approach to exploring her new state—Wisconsin. She’s a recent transplant from Washington D.C.

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