For Immediate Release
April 4, 2016
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Employees' Financial Issues Impact Job Performance, Employers Report
New Survey Finds Employers Offering Education to Help Increase Financial Literacy
Brookfield, Wisconsin—Two-thirds of employers offer financial education to help their employees manage their personal finances, according to a new report from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.
Employers reveal their workforce is struggling with debt (66%), saving for retirement (60%), saving or paying for children's education (51%), covering basic living expenses (48%) and paying for medical expenses (36%). Workplaces are also seeing stress on the "sandwich generation," with both supporting elderly parents and supporting adult children reported by over a quarter of employers as challenges affecting a significant portion of participants.
Four out of five employers report that their employees' personal financial issues are somewhat, very or extremely impactful on their job performance. The top areas impacted include an increase in stress (76%), the inability to focus at work (60%), and absenteeism and tardiness (34%).
"Nearly half of organizations rate their workforce as only a little bit or not at all financially savvy," stated Julie Stich, CEBS, Director of Research at the International Foundation. "Employers are also reporting more financial challenges among employees today than five years ago and are seeing these challenges reflected in the day-to-day operations of their workplace."
To help combat the issue, nearly half (49%) of organizations offer benefits literacy education, 45% offer retirement security education and 23% offer financial literacy education. Topics covered include investments, savings, insurance, budgeting and identity theft as well as retirement-focused issues such as retirement plan benefits, preretirement financial planning, retirement plan distributions and retiree health care.
The most popular education methods include voluntary classes, projected account balance statements, retirement income calculators, online resources and free personal consultation services.
"Workplace education programs are the most successful when an organization identifies the unique concerns of their workforce and tailors the message to fit that audience," said Stich. "Employers should ask their participants what they want and consider what topics would be the best fit."
Twenty percent of organizations are currently assessing their participants to decide what topics are most needed. Nearly half (47%) are considering it for the future.
Employers report several ways they are taking personalized approaches to reaching their employees, including providing education in other languages, providing education to retirees or spouses, and providing education based on age or income.
Two-thirds of organizations offering financial education rate their programs as successful, with free personal consultation services, voluntary classes and online resources reported as the top three successful methods. Fourteen percent of employers report having a financial education budget, and 22% are considering it.
Organizations report a variety of reasons for offering financial education—most commonly to increase their employees' ability to manage their money, improve employees' retirement investment decisions and increase understanding of current benefits.
Looking toward the future, more than half of the organizations surveyed believe the generation in their workforce most likely to be able to retire on time with adequate savings is the Baby Boomer generation. Only about one in five believes Gen Xers or Millennials are the most likely.
Financial Education for Today's Workforce: 2016 Survey Results includes responses from 406 organizations in the United States and Canada. A wide variety of industries, sizes and regions are represented.
View the full report at www.ifebp.org/FinancialEd2016.
The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans is the premier educational organization dedicated to providing the diverse employee benefits community with objective, solution-oriented education, research and information to ensure the health and financial security of plan beneficiaries worldwide. The Foundation has more than 33,000 multiemployer, corporate and public sector members representing over 25 million lives. For additional information, visit www.ifebp.org .