SALARIES / JAN. 17, 2014
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U.S. Firms to Boost Workers’ Financial Health in 2014

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A number of employers in the U.S. have set themselves the goal of enhancing their employees’ financial health this year. An Aon Hewitt study reveals that as many as 76% of U.S. companies are somewhat or very likely to expand their focus on their staff’s financial health this year. The global management consulting services surveyed more than 400 U.S. companies, representing nearly 10 million workers, to determine their current and future approach to financial wellness benefits.

How Companies Will Help Workers

Among the steps that companies intend to take in 2014 are offering help to manage budgets, including paying for day-to-day living expenses. In noting that this plays an important part in the financial wellbeing of employees, a quarter of companies said they would aid with budgeting.

Other methods to aid employees with finances include offering access to online third-party investment advisory services, with 44% of companies already offering this and a further 14% likely to offer them in 2014.

23% of employers offer face-to-face meetings with financial advisors, and another 10% are very likely to add this feature in 2014.

Employers may also offer a straightforward method to investing. Most employers (79%) offer target-date funds in their defined contribution plans as a turn-key approach to saving. Of those that do not currently offer them, 36% are likely to add this feature in 2014. More than a third (39%) of companies offer managed accounts, with nearly one quarter (24%) of the remaining group likely to offer them in the year ahead.

Rob Austin, director of Retirement Research at Aon Hewitt highlighted that “a growing number of companies are offering tools and services to help employees make smarter financial decisions, which can help improve employee engagement and productivity as workers focus less on financial stressors”. The director added that “employers understand that workers can’t adequately save for retirement if they don’t have their financial house in order”.

An Employee’s Financial Situation is the Most Common Stress Factor

According to a previous Aon Hewitt survey of more than 2,800 workers and their dependents, an individual’s financial situation is the most commonly cited stress factor, and 51% of workers surveyed said that stress caused them to be less productive at work.

During the third quarter of 2013, a survey by Financial Finesse revealed that 41% are unsure about whether they will be able to meet financial objectives in the future. This was up by 7% from the previous year’s results.

All in all, U.S. companies strive to aid employees with their financial situation by offering services to help them manage their debt. More and more employers are providing the tools and resources to improve saving and investing decisions. By simplifying investment options, employers continue to provide their employees with a clear approach to investing.

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