We share the 5 top characteristics to look for when choosing a financial wellness program
Despite the growing popularity of financial wellness programs, there’s still a lot of confusion about exactly what this benefit entails. For instance, many people don’t realize that a financial wellness program is entirely different from a 401(k) offering or a financial education curriculum. We’ll use this post to clarify the financial wellness benefit and help you choose the best program for your employees.
If what you’re looking for is a comprehensive, holistic financial wellness program, there are a few characteristics you should pay attention to:
It’s essential to look at the program provider. If a financial services firm delivers the benefit, there’s a chance that they may try to sell your employees specific products or services. Or they may simply offer a fintech tool. These are different offerings from a financial wellness program, which should always be provided by an unbiased company that doesn’t have any incentive to sell your employees any products or services.
What is the goal of the financial wellness program? While education is a vital part of every financial wellness program, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. A true financial wellness program helps your employees change their financial behaviors by pairing educational resources with financial wellness tools that will nudge employees to take action—whether that’s helping people work toward a specific savings goal or facilitating 1-on-1 sessions with a CFP® professional.
As we mentioned before, a financial wellness program is both holistic and comprehensive. In other words, your benefit should offer some form of unlimited, personalized, and 1-on-1 guidance to your employees. Your employees should also be able to see all their information in one place—from their benefits to their equity compensation to their cash flow—so they can understand the full financial picture.
It also matters who is providing the guidance to your employees. We encourage companies to choose a financial wellness program that uses a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®). Why? These professionals must complete coursework, take exams, and gain real-world experience to receive their designation. Most importantly, all CFP® professionals are bound by the fiduciary standard—which means they have to work in the clients’ best interest.You might be wondering: How are financial advisors different from financial planners? While some financial advisors also abide by the fiduciary standard, this isn’t required for all financial advisors, which means your employees may be at risk of receiving biased or harmful guidance.
Finally, look at the medium that your financial wellness program is offered through. You want to avoid benefits that are only accessible via one medium. Instead, choose a financial wellness program that’s accessible across multiple channels. For instance, you want a platform where employees can access financial advice through video, phone, or chat, in addition to financial wellness sessions hosted for your workplace. This ensures that all your employees have multiple options when engaging with their financial wellness program.
To make the process as simple as possible, we put together a short checklist of everything you want to look for in a financial wellness program:
Choosing a proper financial wellness program is a step in the right direction when it comes to supporting the financial needs of your workforce. If you’re curious to learn more about Origin’s holistic and comprehensive financial wellness platform, request a demo.