Understanding Employee Financial Wellness

What is employee financial wellness, really? Is it a 401(k) open enrollment meeting? A powerpoint about asset allocation? It’s all about changing behavior.

Jul 20, 2023 | Blogs

About the Episode

What is employee financial wellness, really? Is it a 401(k) open enrollment meeting? A PowerPointt about asset allocation? It’s all about changing behavior

Your employee’s behaviors will bring them closer to financial success, or take them further away. 

George talks about how and why to position your people for long-term financial success. 

 

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George Grombacher

George Grombacher

Episode Transcript

I work in employee financial sickness. That’s right financial sickness. When I see financial wellness everywhere, it just, it hit me, somebody is sick, they need to get a virus or bacteria out of their system. And then the wellness part that comes a little bit later, a little bit later on. In America, we’re in the midst of this financial sickness epidemic, tempting to think that it’s the result of what happened during COVID. But think we’ve been sick for a long time in reality. There’s a lot of ways to solve this problem and help individuals, families and communities who are struggling because so many of us are, you can listen to Dave Ramsey’s Daily Show, talking about people overcoming debt, he helps people to get to the root of the problem. He doesn’t bother with surface level symptoms. So I love Dave so much. One of my favorite quotes is from Henry David Thoreau. He says that there are 1000 hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root. Now, Dave, and I, that’s right. I’m telling you, I do similar work to Dave Ramsey. We’re striking at the root of financial sickness, you know, who isn’t those who have simply taken the words financial in sickness and put them on the same, vapid, useless financial education seminars that haven’t ever helped anyone ever. So if you’re paying attention, the same phenomenon is taking place within ESG. Investing. It’s called greenwashing. And that’s simply you want, you’re sort of playing upon the desires of people to be investing in a good way. But you’re not really changing the product at all. If you ever really curious about an ESG or impact investment, start looking inside of it and seeing what they really are investing in. The favorite is when banks talk about financial ones, because it seems almost contradictory. There’s this great scene in the movie, The Social Network, where the Mark Zuckerberg character gets fed up during a deposition and he says to his accusers, if you were the inventors of Facebook, you would have invented Facebook, to banks and many other financial companies, I say this, if you were capable of helping people to become financially successful, then you would have been helping people to become financially successful to harsh try this one on, you know, drug dealers will hook new customers by giving them small amounts of drugs for the first time for free. Once that new client is hooked and addicted, what if that drug dealer then opened a rehab clinic to help that customer get clean? How’s that any different from a bank giving credit cards to people and getting them in debt, then offering them financial wellness to help them get out? Essentially the same thing? Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people out there doing good work in personal finance and helping people to become financially successful. My point is this. There are also a lot of pretenders out there as well. So if you’re not sure if what you’re getting is solid financial wellness programming, or just the same old blah with a fancy name, just digging a little bit deeper, what information is being presented? And is it actually addressing the financial sickness epidemic? It’s talking about the importance of budgeting, but not actually providing the tools to budget. It’s falling short. It’s talking about the value of living debt free but not talking about how to actually make that happen. It’s fallen short, if all it is is talking about risk tolerance, asset allocation, mutual fund choices and contribution options. It’s falling egregiously, egregiously short. All that stuff’s important, but it’s not financial wellness, it’s financial information. Financial information is free on the internet, people are drowning in it. Not sure if your employees are struggling, check out the metrics of your 401k retirement plan. Are people contributing the proper amount to stop working at normal retirement age? Or are they going to come short? When you’re sick? What do you do? You stop doing things you stop going to work? Stop staying up late, you stop eating crappy food, you stop drinking, doing things which are bad for you, you stop engaging in the behaviors that may have gotten you sick in the first place. Then what do you do? You start doing healthy things, start sleeping more eating better, start drinking more water, you take medicine, there is a cure for financial sickness, but like losing weight, getting in shape, be physically healthy, doesn’t come in a pill requires consistent effort won’t be easy. And you know that because nothing worthwhile is ever easy. The medicine, cures financial sickness isn’t dissimilar to what I’ve just been talking about. It’s being courageous enough to recognize that there’s a problem. It’s being courageous enough to stop engaging in damaging behaviors like overspending and rolling over credit card balances from month to month. And it’s being courageous enough to start engaging in healthy behaviors, like monitoring, cash flow, budgeting, putting a plan together to eliminate debt. I want everyone to enjoy financial prosperity. That will never happen until you first achieve financial security. That should be the state At purpose of financial wellness, everybody that is within your organization is perfectly capable of becoming financially successful. And I would go so far as to say that they are worthy of it and even deserving of being financially successful, but they’re not entitled to it just like you and I aren’t entitled to it. And it does require work requires effort, I think that you, as an employer have a unique opportunity. Because you have this existing culture, you have structure to be able to now provide real and authentic and impactful financial literacy and financial wellness, to your employees to get on that path to financial security, and then to continue on to financial prosperity. So not easy, but I think it’s worthwhile. I think it’s really important work to be doing. And as an employer, I think it’s also there’s a business case for it. Obviously, if your employees are struggling financially, they’re not going to be as locked in or engaged in their work. And we want employees to be happy and healthy in every sense. And we want them to be contributing at the highest level that they possibly can be. So remember, do your part, doing your best

 

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