Financial wellness programs could be key to keeping top talent

Melinda Rizzo, contributing writer//May 3, 2019

Financial wellness programs could be key to keeping top talent

Melinda Rizzo, contributing writer//May 3, 2019

What role can employers take in helping workers become better educated about their finances?

A big one.

Employee financial wellness programs can help workers access information and put together a goal-driven plan for managing their incomes and saving for the future.

And business owners who want to hire and keep top talent might want to consider adding financial education as an appetizer to their employee benefits menu.

“Just offering a 401(k) retirement plan is no longer enough,” said William Velekei, a financial advisor at Corbenic Partners in Hanover Township, Northampton County.

And financial wellness is about more than paying today’s bills. It’s about having money, or access to it, to fix the roof, pay for a child’s music lessons, write a check for the mortgage or to cover transportation costs and to fund living expenses when you’re no longer working.

“It’s about cultivating a culture,” Velekei said.

Velekei said Corbenic offers on-site financial planning programs to corporate clients aiming to educate their employees.

“The labor market is tight and companies are looking for ways to make themselves more attractive to talent. They’re starting to up their game,” Velekei said.

Velekei said understanding the terms and language used in investing can be overwhelming for those outside the financial industry, so it’s a good idea to find resources to better understand what phrases and concepts mean and how to apply them.

“It’s a lot of information,” he said.

And many employees are likely to benefit.

According to a 2018 Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company report about 21 percent of Americans have no retirement savings.

The report said many are postponing retirement by working longer. As many as 51 percent of those working don’t expect Social Security to help foot their bills when they stop working.

And even those with savings do not think they have enough. According to the Federal Reserve, less than two-fifths of those saving for retirement report “being on track” with their savings.

Velekei said there is an immediate, tangible benefit to employers who offer financial wellness programs and information to employees: an increase in productivity.

“Building in financial advice makes [employees] more productive on the job. They’re not distracted or looking for these answers online” during the work day, he said.

Matt Petrozelli said encouraging businesses to offer strong, tailored benefits packages and a lot of investment options helps employees get the most out of their savings and investment dollars.

And savvy employers also offer programs geared to help employees navigate different career stages, said Petrozelli, CEO of Valley National Financial Advisors in Hanover Township, Northampton County.

For example a young professional could take more risk with stock investments while someone approaching retirement might want to reduce risk and preserve investment income gained over a lifetime of working and saving.

Petrozelli said a multipronged approach can also include discussions about planning for health care costs after retirement.

He said financial and health care stores, like the Capital Blue Store at The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley, are innovative ways to offer information or speak to an industry professional.