The uncertain financial world of today is increasing the concerns of an already stressed workforce. A new International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plan study, Workplace Wellness and Financial Education Programs: 2022 Survey Results, indicated that the personal factor most impacted by financial challenges is stress (77%), followed by presenteeism (55%), morale (36%) and absenteeism/tardiness (32%).
The new survey also reveals that 41% of employers are increasing their emphasis on financial education.
Additionally, 46% of companies feel it is their responsibility to educate workers on pension and benefit options, encourage them to save for retirement, and help them to become financially literate and better manage their money.
Financial challenges with the largest impact on worker performance include:
- Covering an emergency expense—58%
- Trouble saving for retirement—43%
- Paying off credit card debt and other debt—40%
- Paying medical expenses—34%
- Paying off personal student loan debt—31%.
Lack of time/resources was cited as the largest obstacle employers face in providing financial education.
One official, unbiased and no-cost resource that employers can feel confident sharing with their workers is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB was created to provide a single point of accountability for enforcing U.S. federal consumer financial laws and protecting consumers in the financial marketplace. They provide people with the information, steps and tools needed to make smart financial decisions. CFPB can also help people take action against companies that break the law.
CFPB consumer resources include a wide range of educational tools available on their website, including:
1. Guides —Comprehensive resources to help consumers understand and plan for large financial matters, including buying a house, getting an auto loan, helping a loved one manage money, paying for college and planning for retirement
2. FAQs—Website visitors can find answers to hundreds of financial questions using the search function. Common questions include credit cards, debt collection, credit scores, payday loans, reverse mortgages and student loans.
3. Submitting a Complaint—When consumers experience trouble with a financial product or service and the issue isn’t resolved after contacting the company directly, they can submit a complaint via CFPB’s online form. Typically, the bureau gets a response within 15 days.
4. This great blog on Student Loans—Plus other blogs, worksheets and fact sheets, an email newsletter and more
5. The ability to call and ask burning financial questions to the CFPB by phone at (855) 729-2372.
Given the importance of supporting employees’ financial well-being, the resources available through CFPB are an ideal and low-cost addition to existing financial education programs. CFPB encourages employers and plan sponsors to let their employees and participants know about these free resources.
Financial education resources are also available from the International Foundation:
- Workplace Wellness and Financial Education Programs: 2022 Survey Results
- Financial Education/Retirement Security resource page
- InfoQuick—Request and receive instant info on a variety of benefits topics, including Financial Literacy
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