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Financial Wellness: What Makes Someone Good at Managing Finances? Hint: It’s Not What They Know

November 8, 2017 / Corporate Wellness

It’s what they think they know.

Virgin Pulse recently co-hosted a webinar with Mercer which tackled key insights from their 2016 study, Inside Employees’ MindsTM, a survey focused on the decision-making habits and financial wellness of 3,000 workers. Among the many fascinating insights Mercer gained through their research is a concept they’ve dubbed financial courage. It turns out that an employee’s level of financial knowledge isn’t a predictor of their financial wellness. Rather, people who believe that they know a lot about managing finances are more likely to engage with financial programs, act on financial recommendations, and better manage their money. It comes down to confidence over knowledge. This is a powerful insight when you consider the role that financial wellness plays in total, holistic wellbeing.

According to Mercer’s survey, the biggest worry for roughly 60% of employees with poor financial wellbeing is simply keeping up with monthly bills. We all have struggled with this flavor of stress at some point in our lives, or know someone who continues to struggle — it’s overwhelming. Financial stress can affect our sleep, mental health status, and productivity on the job. In fact, Mercer estimates that employees spend 13 hours per month worrying about money matters while at work, and 84% of employees want help from their employers.

The Good News:

Employers are listening. Our survey, The Business of Healthy Employees, showed that financial management program offerings increased by 15% to 58% in 2017. These programs can help educate employees and offer paths towards increased financial wellness.

The Bad News:

Financial management programs are underutilized by people with low financial courage – the very people who could benefit from them the most. Only 22% of Mercer’s survey respondents with low financial courage were aware of the financial programs available to them, and of that only 48 % participated in the programs. This is in contrast to those with high financial courage, with 48% awareness and 80% participation.

The Solution:

Make financial wellness a part of your total, holistic wellbeing offering, and remove the barrier of entry. Create a digital environment where employees can start small and interact with simple money saving tips and educational micro-lessons within a platform that helps them succeed in all areas of life. At a pace that they’re comfortable with, they will gain the financial courage needed to make good money decisions and act on them, increasing their financial wellness and total wellbeing.

Learn more about how to help your employees gain financial peace of mind – download the financial wellbeing toolkit or learn about the Virgin Pulse Financial Wellbeing Program.

Mindi Ennis is a product marketing manager for Virgin Pulse. 

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