Which financial wellbeing program is right for your employees? It’s a question on many HR and Benefits professionals mind's today.
Welcome to the Workplace Financial Wellbeing Guide supported by LearnLux, the trusted provider of financial wellbeing for your entire workforce.
We’re a mission-driven company that believes all people (no matter their income, net worth, life stage, or level of financial confidence) deserve to feel great about their money.
Right now, many leading employers are asking, "Which financial wellbeing program is right for my workforce?" This guide shares best practices in financial wellbeing that we’ve gathered from nearly a decade in this space.
We are proud to partner with US and global employers from a wide range of industries who are making workplace financial wellbeing a priority. Their financial wellbeing strategies now closely align with mental wellbeing, physical health, DEIB initiatives, and more.
Download this guide for future reference.
Financial wellbeing programs for employees
Financial wellbeing is no longer a nice-to-have. Workplaces that offer holistic financial wellbeing programs are seeing major improvements in holistic employee health, and ROI for their businesses, too.
With financial wellbeing programs in place, employers are moving the needle on employee engagement, retention, stress, healthcare costs, benefits uptake, and more. If seeking results like those brought you to this guide today, you’re in the right place.
Ready to explore the world of workplace financial wellbeing? There’s never been a better time to start. We’re here to help you find the program that’s the best fit for your team. Let’s dive right in.
Table of contents
- What is financial wellbeing?
- The five elements of employee financial wellbeing
- Why employers are making financial wellbeing a workplace priority
- What is a fiduciary? What is a Certified Financial Planner™️ professional?
- How to create a successful financial wellbeing program
- Supporting diverse teams with financial wellbeing
- How much does a financial wellbeing program cost?
- Measuring the return on investment (ROI) of financial wellbeing programs
- A final note on financial wellbeing
Want to download this guide to read later?
What is the definition of financial wellbeing?
Financial wellbeing is defined as a state of being where you can meet current and ongoing financial obligations and feel secure in your financial future.
To achieve financial wellbeing, how much money does an employee need to have? There is no specific dollar amount that someone must earn or save in their bank account to be financially well.
Instead, the definition of financial wellbeing (often referred to as financial wellness) is closely tied to a person’s own sense of financial stress and financial confidence.
The five elements of financial wellbeing for employees
What is "good" financial wellness for employees?
A person is said to achieve a state of financial wellbeing when they have:
- A manageable level of stress associated with current and future financial matters
- A manageable level of debt — or no debt at all — that an individual can pay off without financial penalty or significant stress on their financial situation or lifestyle
- Enough disposable income to maintain a desirable lifestyle, within reason
- An ample emergency savings fund that can sustain an individual’s lifestyle for at least three months
- Financial acumen that will allow an individual to plan appropriately for future goals and respond to unforeseen financial obstacles
Financial wellbeing is one of the 6 pillars of holistic workplace wellbeing.
Why employers are making financial wellbeing programs a priority
HR and benefits professionals are uniquely positioned to help calm their employees’ financial anxiety.
Money matters might seem like a sensitive topic that you, as an employer, might not want to involve yourself in. But the truth is that much of your employees’ financial lives are directly tied to their workplace.
First, it starts with their paycheck. As their employer, you are your employee’s main (or only!) source of income. A steady paycheck is the main foundation of their financial life.
Next, the medical benefits you offer are a key component to maintaining their health and wellbeing. The healthcare plans they enroll in could be the difference between easily handling a medical emergency or going into debt.
Think of an employee that lacks insurance or doesn’t understand the benefits of preventative dental care. Down the line, they may take time off to have major dental work done — and take on debt to do it.
Last, the financial security and peace of mind you provide with their retirement savings accounts is paramount. Your employees don’t want to be working until they’re 80, and we’re sure you’d prefer they didn’t, either. By offering a 401(k) plan or other retirement savings vehicle and educating your employees on how to use it, you can set them up for success.
Some employees may even have stock options or equity in their company. Owning company stock can help them hit their financial goals while working hard and staying loyal to your organization, too.
Innovative employers have noticed that these major financial pillars are just a small fraction of an employee’s whole financial picture. There’s still debt, credit, emergency funds, saving for their children’s education, estate planning, prioritizing competing goals, and more.
By offering a holistic financial wellbeing program as a benefit, employers are able to take an active role in helping their teams learn, plan and take action toward their financial futures.
What is a fiduciary? What is a Certified Financial Planner™️ professional?
Who can you trust for financial advice? Employees of all income and asset levels may struggle to know where to turn.
According to the Financial Trust Index, nearly half of Americans incorrectly believe that all financial planners are required by law to act in their best interest. This is a dangerous misconception, as it can lure employees at all levels of financial confidence into getting biased (and often costly) advice.
When it comes to offering a financial wellbeing benefit with experts you can trust, look for a program with Certified Financial Planner™️ professionals that are true fiduciaries.
What is a Certified Financial Planner™️ professional?
Not all financial guidance is created equal. Just like your friend who reads WebMD isn’t a doctor, a money coach that studied a few personal finance books isn’t a Certified Financial Planner™️ professional. Here’s why that designation matters.
There are countless financial professionals out there ready to provide guidance. When considering financial planners for your employees, you’ll want to look closely at their expertise, experience, training, credentials, and ethics. LearnLux only employs Certified Financial Planner™️ professionals, the highest accreditation a financial advisor can achieve.
To become a Certified Financial Planner™️, candidates must complete a certification process that includes rigorous coursework, examinations, and on-the-job training. They must agree to adhere to strict ethical and fiduciary candidate fitness standards (more on that next). They must also disclose any criminal or employment termination history and pass a background check to be eligible for the designation.
What is a fiduciary?
“Fiduciary” is a fancy word that describes the ethical standard to which a Certified Financial Planner™️ professional is held for giving financial guidance and managing money. The official Fiduciary Standard was created in 1940 with the passage of the Investment Advisors Act. It states that:
- An advisor must place his or her interest below that of the client.
- An advisor is prohibited from buying securities for his or her account prior to buying them for a client.
- An advisor must do his or her best to make sure investment advice is made using accurate and complete information. The analysis must be as thorough as possible.
- An advisor must avoid conflicts of interest. As a fiduciary, an advisor must disclose any conflicts of interest or potential conflicts of interest.
In providing a workplace financial wellbeing program, there’s real money on the line for employers and employees alike. Partner with an unbiased financial wellbeing program that employs Certified Financial Planner™️ professionals who are true fiduciaries. It will be the best resource for employees as they build confidence around their money, and it will bring you (as their employer) peace of mind.
LearnLux only hires independent, fiduciary Financial Advisors that are Certified Financial Planner™️ professionals. This methodology maintains the highest level of quality financial guidance for the employer groups we serve.
Download the full guide:
How to create a successful financial wellbeing program
What makes a financial wellbeing program truly work? As you consider the best solution for your workforce, keep an eye out for these key features.
Key features of successful financial wellbeing programs
- Blend of digital and human guidance
- Access to Certified Financial Planner™️ professionals
- Acts in the employee’s best interest
- Holistic programming
- Tailored for unique employee needs
- Powered by personalization
Let's dive into each of those features now.
Blend of digital and human
The most successful financial wellbeing programs blend powerful technology with expert human guidance.
With digital education and tools, employees can learn at their own pace and work at the time and cadence that works best for them. Think of a learner that retains information best in the morning or an employee whose mind is sharpest at night. Digital tools like financial checkups, cashflow calculators, interactive lessons, retirement projections and more can provide powerful insights for individuals. For employees who are ready for one-on-one planning and support, access to Certified Financial Planner™ professionals via chat, email, phone, and video can offer life-changing guidance.
By blending human and digital experiences, employers can also highlight the topics that are important to their workforce and organizational goals. For example, open enrollment is a key decision point for all employees around healthcare, insurance and voluntary benefits. Choose a financial wellbeing program that offers digital content and tools that support benefits decision assistance, paired with one-on-one meetings with financial experts. Employees can ask a Certified Financial Planner™ questions like “which healthcare plan is right for me?” which saves your HR team valuable time and resources during a busy time of year.
Look for programs that are well-designed from both the digital and the human perspectives with user experience in mind. Fun fact: User experience is often abbreviated to UX, which is part of the inspiration for the name LearnLux.
Access to Certified Financial Planner™️ professionals
We see doctors for our physical health and therapists for our mental health. But what expert should we consult about our financial health? Most of us are left on our own to manage our money. Unfortunately, traditional financial advising is incredibly outdated and only caters to the wealthiest among us.
Many independent financial planners require a minimum balance in manageable assets (the money you’ll turn over to let them manage). This minimum can be upwards of $250,000, so it’s no surprise that 75% of Americans are flying solo. At LearnLux, we are on a mission to fill this gap with technology and tools powered by experts — and we only employ Certified Financial Planner™️ professionals, the highest level of financial certification an advisor can achieve.
Acts in the employee’s best interest
Ask any employee benefits professional if they’d let a credit card company come into the office and sign their employees up for credit cards, and we bet you’d hear a resounding “NO.” Yet, many programs that call themselves “financial wellbeing” make their money by selling financial products and services. Most aren’t even very subtle about it.
Employee trust is everything, so look for financial wellbeing programs that always act in employees’ best interest. When evaluating solutions, you can ask:
- Are you affiliated with a bank or financial product?
- Do you push financial products, sell services, charge fees, or make affiliate commissions?
- Do you have an agenda with employee data?
- Does your program provide fiduciary guidance? Are your financial planners fiduciaries?
Financial wellbeing programs that are affiliated with financial products push employees toward the solutions that are most profitable, not what’s necessarily best for the employee. Look for a financial wellbeing program that is trustworthy today, and will stay that way tomorrow. Many employees are naturally suspicious of financial services, so earning their ongoing trust is crucial.
Financial wellbeing is about connecting the dots in each employee’s financial life. Point solution programs that address a single topic such as student loans or credit scores miss the big picture, so holistic solutions continue to be the most inclusive and impactful.
You might offer a 401(k), which is great for employees who are financially able to save for their golden years. Student loan benefits are nice, but only for your team members that took on debt for their education. When you choose a holistic financial wellbeing program, you serve your wider employee population. You get to cover everything from emergency funds to estate planning. Without a solution that meets employees where they are, your program’s impact will be limited.
Consider a holistic financial wellbeing program like LearnLux that meets each employee where they are.
Tailored for unique employee needs
Team members of all income levels and demographics should feel supported by your workplace’s financial wellbeing programs. Explore solutions that empower executives, hourly workers, and everyone in between.
A strong financial wellbeing program will also account for generational diversity among employees. People are living and working longer, which means businesses can soon expect to have up to five generations of employees in their ranks. Implementing a program for multi-generational workforces is incredibly important today and will be the gold standard in the future.
Additionally, hybrid and remote work arrangements are the new normal. In today's workforce, financial wellbeing programs need to account for employees in headquarters and in the field, in corporate settings and warehouses, for those working remotely, and those in office settings.
For more information, download the guide to Employee Financial Wellbeing in the Hybrid Workplace.
Powered by personalization
Employees have different confidence levels, risk tolerance, debt, and target retirement dates, so their financial wellbeing plans should be as personal as their fingerprints. Innovative financial wellbeing programs use data and AI to create custom experiences at scale, and their content is highly tailored to each organization’s benefits options.
Supporting diverse teams with financial wellbeing
Financial wellbeing is a benefit that can create inclusivity and belonging across your workforce.
Workers of all demographics, socioeconomic statuses, geographic locations and incomes levels are faced with growing financial challenges. The good news is that employers are uniquely positioned to support their diverse team’s financial health.
With an accessible and equitable financial wellbeing benefit on their side, HR and benefits professionals can meet each employee where they are and provide financial guidance that’s culturally relevant, globally localized, and always in their best interest. Offering a financial wellbeing benefit reduces administrative burden while ensuring that each employee is supported by a program that’s tailored to them.
Financial wellbeing programs for diverse teams offer guidance that's:
- Culturally relevant and globally localized
Innovative employers are now aligning financial wellbeing with DEIB initiatives. Look for a financial wellbeing program that puts a focus on inclusivity across all ages, geographies, cultures, economic backgrounds, and genders. Let's dive into those key elements below.
Accessible financial wellbeing programs
Digital platforms built for accessibility mean that any employee can navigate and view the same information in ways that meet their unique needs.
Equitable financial wellbeing programs
Achieving financial wellbeing means something different to every individual. Equitable solutions meet each employee where they are, providing a flexible and customized experience.
Culturally relevant and globally localized financial wellbeing programs
Money is ubiquitous, but cultural nuances across our US and global workforces require unique approaches. Support employees from all cultures, backgrounds, languages, and global financial systems.
Judgment-free guidance in financial wellbeing programs
Employees from all backgrounds may be bridging the conversation about money for the first time, or have stress and biases around the subject. Choose a financial wellbeing solution that leads with empathy
At LearnLux, we are committed to ensuring that people from all identities have the opportunity to feel financially confident. Our digital content is accessible to employees of all incomes and asset levels. In addition to self-paced digital content available 24/7, LearnLux financial planners are available for one-on-one guidance via chat, email, phone, and video call.
How much does a financial wellbeing program cost?
A few financial wellbeing program pricing models are:
- Per employee, per month pricing (PEPM)
- Flat-fee pricing
- Advising rate pricing
It’s important to understand how each program makes money, how that contributes to their pricing, and what fees or upsells you may incur.
Here, we'll discuss the popular cost structures that you may see as you explore your options for bringing a new financial wellbeing program to your workplace.
To explore pricing for your unique workforce, reuqest a financial wellbeing pricing quote from LearnLux.
Per employee, per month pricing (PEPM)
One of the most common types of financial wellbeing program pricing is per employee per month (PEPM). In the modern workplace, employers are on the hunt for financial wellbeing programs that are flexible, scalable, and accessible for all — which is why PEPM priced products lead the pack. PEPM pricing can be seat-based, utilization based, or flat rate.
If a financial wellbeing provider uses PEPM pricing, ask if there are any other ways that they make money besides this monthly rate. For example, LearnLux blends digital and human financial wellbeing into an independent, unbiased program, so we do not sell products or take any affiliate commissions. We make money exclusively from the transparent PEPM price the employers pay and never make money from employees or hidden fees.
Looking for a one-off financial wellbeing event for your employees? You will likely encounter one-time, flat-fee pricing. Examples of one-time events include lunch & learns, webinars, and flat-rate financial advising. One-time programs can be free if offered through existing solutions such as your 401(k) provider, but be sure to confirm that the guidance is unbiased and in your employees’ best interest. Programs that have flat-fee pricing often make money by upselling employees into one-on-one financial coaching or by pushing products like 401(k) investments.
Advising rate pricing
One common pricing and revenue model you’ll see in traditional financial wellbeing programs that are solely human-powered is hourly or set-rate pricing. This setup is common in situations where the program is centered around human experts who charge a set rate to give guidance to employees. Depending on the planner’s experience or level of certification, hourly rates can start at $150 and go up from there. For a comprehensive financial plan, expect to pay $1,500 to $4,000 or higher. Be sure to ask if the expert makes an additional commission from recommending products or investments.
A final note on financial wellbeing program pricing
Not all programs are transparent about their revenue models and pricing. Before partnering with a financial wellbeing program, here are a few key questions to ask:
- How does your company make money?
- Do you collect referrals or commissions?
- Do you have partnerships or arrangements with any financial services providers?
- Are you owned by or affiliated with a financial services company?
- How are your coaches / planners compensated?
To stay within budget but still get big value from a financial wellbeing program with Certified Financial Planner™️ professionals, look for holistic programs like LearnLux that blend digital and human elements and wrap both services into a simple PEPM model.
Explore the full Financial Wellbeing Program Guide:
How to measure the return on investment (ROI) of financial wellbeing programs
Now that we’ve covered the qualities to look for in impactful financial wellbeing programs, let’s talk about measuring results.
At a high level, you know that financial stress hurts employees, which in turn costs your business money. By implementing a financial wellbeing program, you can reduce employee stress and increase productivity while improving employee engagement.
Those results sound great, but we want to help you actually quantify the ROI of financial wellbeing at your own organization.
The first step is to gather baseline metrics, then set goals for your company. It’s valuable to understand the cost that financial stress could be imposing on your organization already.
Now, let’s move on to specific areas where you can see measurable ROI from a holistic financial wellbeing program. A recent employee benefits study commissioned by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports that employers typically see a return of $3 for every $1 spent on financial wellbeing programs. But what might that actually look like at your workplace?
For each fact and figure listed below, think about your own organization and how much that cost or savings could contribute to seeing a return on your investment.
Decreased absenteeism and presenteeism
Financial stress is keeping employees up at night and taking a toll on their productivity. A recent study found that workers who are stressed about their finances are absent from work 3.5 days per year. When stressed employees do show up, they are “highly distracted,” which can use up 12 additional days per year, and interfere with their workplace satisfaction and overall engagement.
Supporting your employees as they establish healthy financial foundations can make them more productive. For example, financial wellbeing fundamentals such as having an emergency fund can change how often employees call out of work.
Studies conclude that eliminating financial stress-related absenteeism and presenteeism would save a company with 12,500 employees upwards of $1.25 million a year.
When an employee is stressed about money, they are more likely to pursue other job opportunities in the hopes of increasing their salary. The cost of turnover includes the time and fees associated with recruiting, interviewing, screening, hiring, onboarding, and training new employees — and these costs only scale up as the salary for the open position increases.
For example, hiring for mid-range positions that earn $30,000 to $50,000 annually costs about 20% of the annual salary amount. If a financial wellbeing program helps one employee maximize the power of their paycheck and use the full value of their benefits, that retention could save your company upwards of $10,000.
Healthcare cost savings
Maintaining a healthy workforce is at the forefront of every benefits professional’s mind. Financial stress directly affects employee healthcare costs, especially for those who have conditions that are exacerbated by stress.
Employees who are stressed about their finances are more than two times as likely to report poor overall health and four times as likely to complain of headaches, depression, or other health issues. Nearly 50% of employees who are experiencing financial stress report that they avoid getting healthcare due to worries about how much it will cost.
On the flip side, employees who use financial wellbeing benefits saw their healthcare costs decrease by 4.5%. This adds up for employers in a big way. For example, an employer with 10,000 could save up to $2.17M in healthcare costs alone.
For more info, download the Financial Stress Increases Employee Healthcare Costs infographic.
With financial stress on the rise, many employees expect to delay their retirements. In a recent survey, about half of working women say they plan to work longer than expected, and nearly 38% of men admit the same.
The cost implications of these retirement delays are staggering. For an employer with 3,000 employees and workforce costs of $200 million, a one-year delay in retirement age may cost $2-$3 million. An individual employee whose retirement is delayed could cost more than $50,000 based on the differential between the retiring employee and a newly hired employee.
Higher benefits and payroll costs could cause big problems down the line, along with delays in implementing your succession and exit plans.
Calculating financial wellbeing program ROI
When you consider the big picture, these measurable costs can really add up. By implementing a financial wellbeing program that reduces the costs associated with financial stress by even 3% - 5%, you can make a big impact on your company’s bottom line.
Check out the full article about financial wellbeing program ROI for more details.
A final note on financial wellbeing programs for employees
Way to go! You’ve made it to the end of the guide. But for your employees’ financial wellbeing, this is just the beginning.
It takes a lot to become an expert in a topic as complex as workplace financial wellbeing. But with this guide on your side, you have the knowledge you need to evaluate a wide range of programs with confidence.
Keep this information on hand for your financial wellbeing search.
LearnLux is the leading workplace financial wellbeing provider that blends fiduciary digital planning with access to one-on-one guidance from Certified Financial Planner™️ professionals. LearnLux's award-winning program equips employees with a financial plan to guide them through decision points like budgeting, paying down debt, electing benefits, understanding equity compensation, starting a family, buying a home, saving for retirement, and more. Advanced reporting keeps our partners in the know, and drives results like reduction in financial stress, increased productivity, reduced employee turnover, greater use of pretax products, on-time retirement, and healthcare savings. LearnLux members feel great about their money, allowing their work and wellbeing to thrive.
To learn more about LearnLux, visit learnlux.com.