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Employers Find it Pays to Provide Financial Education to Employees

Aug 17, 2007
Money: The more you make, the more it takes, or so it seems. This statement applies to employers as well as employees. Doing more with less, is both an employer and employee issue. Many businesses are unable to afford pay raises to offset the rising cost of living. Workers are drowning in debt more than ever before. As we are aware, in our society, some debt may be necessary. Too much debt, usually attributed to lack of money management skills, is easy to address and the most costly for employers to ignore. Money management education, when offered to employees by their employer, can be one of the best investments employers can make in their business.

It is a fact that more than one-third of all employees are stressed about their financial issues.
About 20 percent are so anxious that their job productivity is negatively impacted. In some workplaces, due to income inadequacy, this figure is as high as 40 to 50 percent. Other studies show that 90% of employees are dissatisfied with their financial wellness, 75% are insecure about retirement and 50% hold a part-time job. Nearly a third of these employees waste 20 hours each month, dealing with money-matters while on-the-job. These employees are less productive and absent from work more often. And those employees with serious money problems are more likely to suffer from health and family problems, further increasing the cost of business.

Since the declaration of the bankruptcy of the Enron Corporation, many policy makers and other leaders have called for a greater focus on financial education. Globally, more company principals and managers agree that money management education in the workplace has become more essential than ever. For example, Richard Hiller, Vice President of the Western Division of TIAA-CREF, while testifying before a House Committee on Education and the Workforce, contended that financial education should be made more available.

Company-sponsored financial education programs can benefit all employees, regardless of their financial status. In fact, the National Institute for Personal Finance Employee Education has
calculated that the first-year return on investment in workplace financial education, even for employees who make slight improvements in their financial wellness, is more than $400 per employee (e.g., fewer absences, less time dealing with financial matters, and increases in productivity).The NIPFEE estimates that the potential return on investment for employers who provide workplace financial education is at least 300 percent.

Some organizations have used financial education to help recruit and train their employees. This type of company-sponsored, employee education also fulfills the requirement from the Department of Labor for employers offering defined-contribution pension plans, such as the 401(k).

One popular financial education program* offered by companies like General Motors, US Steel, Exxon/Mobil, Chrysler Corporation, Xerox and Ernst & Young, teaches employees how to give themselves a 35% raise by eliminating their personal debt. This type of raise does not require a company to touch a dime of its payroll and conveys a message of caring to employees. These employees then, become more engaged and more productive in their work. Employees learn how to reach their financial goals using the money they make now. They have less stress and feel less pressure to make more money.

Besides being a sound investment in employees, a quality financial education program would benefit your business for years to come. Workers become more tolerant of budget cuts that prevent expected increases in pay. Fewer employees work second jobs or seek higher paying jobs at the expense of their employer. Employees who are more cost-conscious at home should be more cost-conscious at work.

Unfortunately, most employers ignore workers who have personal money management problems because they do not realize the high cost of doing so. The reality is that workers' personal financial management problems cost employers a lot of money.

The bottom line for most companies is that they help to change their individual and collective financial future. The challenge of making the most of what you have is just as important to your employees as it is to your business. By choosing to offer your employees a solid financial education program, you not only enable them to better manage their lives, you empower them to better manage the future of your business. Their future is your future.
About the Author
Dr. Thomas R. Watson, a leading expert on workplace financial education, teaches employees how to eliminate their personal debt in record tme. Find out how to give your employees a 35% raise without touching a dime of payroll at http://www.FreeClearAndFocus.com
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