5 Biggest Myths About Financial Wellness Programs

Five Biggest Myths About Financial Wellness Programs


Five Biggest Myths About Financial Wellness Programs


5 Biggest Myths About Financial Wellness Programs


If you don’t have a pulse on the latest Fintech and employee benefit news, financial wellness is in every headline as companies rapidly roll programs into their benefit offerings. 

If you aren’t familiar with financial wellness, it is generally used to describe the state of one’s personal financial situation. It includes an individual’s income, savings, retirement plan, debt, and other aspects of personal finances that create a holistic view of one’s overall financial health. Financial wellness programs exist to help educate individuals on the state of their personal finances and provide them with tools, resources, and solutions to establish financial stability.

An increasing number of employees are asking for support with their personal finances from their employer. They don’t necessarily want their employer to provide this support directly; they want access to benefits and resources that will empower them to improve their financial situation. According to the Consumer Financial of Protection Bureau, 40% of employees want help in achieving financial security and financial well-being.

Are you still in the process of assessing the value of offering financial wellness as a benefit to your employees? It can be tough to define the ROI, especially with so many opinions challenging the very definition of financial wellness. The holistic approach of financial management is new to some and there may be hesitation around offering it to your employees if you don’t fully understand the services and the value they bring. Read on as we dispel the five biggest myths about financial wellness.

Myth #1: Financial wellness is a fad. It’s just another benefit trend.

The beginnings of financial wellness include a 2013 study by Grinstein-Weiss, a distinguished professor at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. In her report, she concluded that “successful financial wellness programs could offer opportunities for employees to improve financial management and work satisfaction while decreasing stress,” amongst other valuable factors. 

Since then, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has produced their own studies with similar findings. Their research continues to influence employers and the number of companies offering financial wellness as a benefit has doubled since 2015. The CFPB went on to release an article stating that there is a growing consensus that the ultimate measure for success with financial literacy should be an improvement in individual financial well-being. 

As financial wellness gains recognition as a necessary employee benefit, large institutions continue to support the initiative, backed by their own research. In 2019, Bank of America released its Workplace Benefits Report citing that financial wellness mattered in the workplace. The report goes on to share that “when employees live their best financial lives, it shows in the workplace” and that “employers play a huge role in their employee’s financial wellness.” 

Myth #2: It’s impossible to quantify the success and ROI of financial wellness. 

Although it can be challenging to quantify some of the results, it is possible to gauge the success of a financial wellness program. The CFPB reports that the ROI on a financial wellness program for a company is $1-$3 per employee. 

Financial wellness programs fill a need that is generally unmet in overall society. Most employees do not receive financial education during high school, college, or at home. Imagine if schools didn’t teach students to read or write? Would they be prepared for a career (or even a contributing member of society)? Unlikely. 

Financial literacy follows the same concept. By the time someone starts earning a salary, they have likely not learned how to manage, save, or build wealth. Without financial education, they are likely to make uninformed financial decisions which can lead to financial instability and incredibly stressful situations. 

And we all know that stress has tangible impacts on individuals in the workplace. Financial wellness programs help to reduce the stress of employees, leading to a positive impact not only on the well-being of individual employees but directly to employers’ bottom lines.

Check out these case studies of employees who have gone through our financial training program and have achieved tangible financial results – including increased savings and reduced debt. When employees feel financially secure, their ability to focus and produce while at work is greatly improved.

Myth #3: All of our employees are well compensated. They don’t need financial wellness services. 

Financial insecurity and chronic economic anxiety are prevalent in all communities, at all income levels. Individuals who earn a salary that would place them in a category of ‘high earning’ face the same financial knowledge deficit as those earning less. Just because employees earn a decent salary doesn’t mean they know how to manage it. 

“It’s not how much you make, it’s how much you keep.”

According to Financial Health Network, 47% of Americans spend equal to or more than their income, resulting in only 28% of all Americans maintaining a stable financial health classification.  A similar study goes on to reveal that 85% of those who make less than $60,000 annually are financially vulnerable and 50% of those with earnings greater than $100,000 are also in a financially vulnerable state.

In addition to the lack of financial education, the increased cost of living, rising student loan debt and stagnant wages impact people across socioeconomic backgrounds leading to financial vulnerability across income ranges. 

Myth #4: Financial well-being is the responsibility of employees. 

From the founder of Zappos (who sold his company to Amazon for $1 billion) to the billionaire behind the company Spanx, CEOs overwhelming conclude that a company’s ability to succeed is dependent upon its employees feeling happy, healthy and supported in their workplace. Similar to offering medical benefits, personal finances are an aspect of employee health. Looking out for the well-being of your employees includes access to medical and financial support.

It is reported that 46% of employees deal with financial stress. Many of us can empathize with the fact that stress is hard to leave at home; and impossible for Americans in the workforce. These feelings and thoughts follow an employee and can make it difficult to focus in the workplace. The compounding impact of stress and anxiety is a heavy burden on an individual and permeates into the workplace. The resulting loss in productivity, focus and performance causes businesses to lose over $450 billion per year

When a company invests in the well-being of its employees, the individuals and the business benefit. In a recent blog post, we gave further evidence supporting the need for employers to offer financial wellness services. For employees to seek out financial guidance from a professional on their own, they must have a substantial net-worth or income in order to afford professional services. Unfortunately, it isn’t cost-effective for many employees to receive the financial support they need.  

Myth #5: All of our employees will demand a raise. We can’t afford that!

As the study shows, those with relatively high earnings also experience financial stress. While some employees may request a raise, many employees will realize that having access to a holistic, tailored financial education program with resources to help them handle financial challenges can provide greater value. Many financial wellness services that are free to the employee also hold monetary value, like one-on-one financial coaching, real-time financial dashboards that aggregate credit and bank accounts, prepaid cards, etc. Employees would have to pay out of pocket to access these tools otherwise, so being able to prove the value of the benefits you offer is also important to help provide perspective. 

Motivating employees to utilize the financial wellness services you provide is crucial for your employees to recognize their real value. These tools will give them the opportunity to improve their personal financial situation and create a realistic financial management plan. By committing to a few small behavioral changes, they’ll start to see results and they’ll be encouraged to continue down the path. They will have the confidence and knowledge to reach a healthy financial status living within their current means. When the time comes that you can reward them with a raise, it truly will be a bonus.

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Kristen Stringer

Vice President of Banking & Credit Services

Kristen Stringer came to FinFit in 2010 and has been instrumental in the development of the proprietary FinFit systems and processes. Kristen served as FinFit’s Director of Operations for 7 years before being promoted to Vice President of Banking and Credit Services. She is responsible for managing strategic partners including the Celtic Bank and Ares credit relationships, in addition to establishing new relationships in the sponsor bank market. Kristen also oversees the underwriting and credit areas and is involved with development of underwriting models and new credit products, expansion of credit offerings, auditing and compliance, and the overall performance of credit products.

Kristen holds a bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in finance, and is currently pursuing her MBA at Old Dominion University. She began her career at HSBC Bank in the customer service and collections departments and later was responsible for process improvement and project management. She was selected to lead numerous special projects including a foreclosure avoidance project that liquidated over $2 million dollars in less than three months. In her spare time, Kristen enjoys photography and is an avid sports fan.

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David Kilby


David Kilby has been President/CEO of FinFit since its founding in 2008. He has grown the company from a single idea into the nation’s largest, most comprehensive Financial Wellness Benefit platform. Chosen as one of the top 100 companies to work for three years in a row (2014-16), FinFit pursues a mission of changing employees lives one employee at a time. Prior to FinFit, David led a multi-million-dollar financial institution holding company, where he was inspired to find a way to help employees get more financially fit. At KPMG Peat Marwick, Norfolk, Virginia, he worked with a variety of public and private organizations in a variety of industries including automotive, chemical manufacturing, consumer finance, managed health care, retail, real estate and wholesale organizations.

David received his CPA designation in the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1991 and graduated from Old Dominion University. Today he serves as the President of the Ability Center of Virginia, a charity devoted to helping children and adults with disabilities serve productive lives. He is also an active member with the Young Presidents Organization, an active Board Member of Old Dominion University Business School, a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Jennifer Creech

Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships

Jennifer Creech brings more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience to FinFit. Jennifer is accountable for the overall sales initiatives, client acquisition and strategic relationships. She is also responsible for client retention strategies and the development and management of sales agents.

Jennifer previously served as VP/Director of Marketing at Bank of Hampton Roads/Hampton Roads Bankshares, Inc. As an officer of the bank, she was responsible for the development and implementation of the bank’s sales and marketing programs and was a member of the Retail Leadership Committee to expand the retail banking division.

Jennifer is currently the President of It’s A Surprise and offers support to various community charities.

Kristen Gaskins

Director of Client Engagement and Awareness

Kristen Gaskins brings more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience to her role as Director of Client Engagement and Awareness. She leads a dynamic team of onboarding specialists whose focus is ensuring employers understand the benefits of FinFit and are ready to roll it out to their employees. She works closely with the FinFit marketing department to craft and measure the omnichannel onboarding experience, working to retain and engage existing partners, clients and employees.

She’s a Virginia Beach native who enjoys travel and cooking, just not at the same time.

Cliff Kiel

Senior Vice President, Sales

Cliff Kiel brings almost thirty years of industry experience to the sales team. He joined the company in 2017 to oversee new revenue channels for the business. Cliff is based in Atlanta, Georgia, overseeing sales and business-to-business prospect marketing. Cliff leads the broker and employer growth strategies for the company.

Prior to his tenure with FinFit, Cliff served four years with Purchasing Power as Vice President, and General Sales Manager. He was instrumental in onboarding many Fortune 100 clients. Under his tenure leading the sales team, the company's revenue doubled and he recorded record sales years for the organization. Prior to Purchasing Power, Cliff worked for leading health and welfare companies such as MetLife, United HealthCare, CVS Caremark, Cigna, Value Options, and Alere.

He earned his BA degree from the State University of New York at Oneonta, and his Certificate in Healthcare Management from the State University California, Irvine.

Cliff has been a featured speaker at the annual Voluntary Benefits Conference and many other leading conferences.

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Pete Ostberg

Chief Operating Officer

Pete Ostberg joined FinFit in 2017 after spending 20 years in the payroll industry. Pete is responsible for overseeing all business operations, ensuring FinFit has effective operational procedures in place. He also conducts market research and analyses to strengthen FinFit’s product portfolio by adding new and exciting offerings to help employees become more financially stable. Pete is focused on growing the number of valued partners and ensuring the successful implementation of FinFit with each one.

Prior to FinFit, Pete worked at Paychex in a variety of roles. He has in-depth knowledge of tax payments, payroll, insurance, operations, business analysis, and product management. During his tenure there, he helped to strategically position new products as they were brought to the market. Pete has a degree in Political Science from SUNY Geneseo and in his spare time, he enjoys spending time with family and traveling.

David Hockstad

Senior Data & Financial Analyst

David Hockstad came to FinFit in 2015 and has led the development of FinFit’s custom underwriting algorithms and employee assessment questionnaire. As Senior Data and Financial Analyst, David is responsible for identifying portfolio trends and KPIs, implementing business intelligence tools, creating visual ad hoc reports, and enhancing predictive modeling capabilities. David also assists various departments in finding actionable insights in their data, be it understanding successful company demographics, employee contact methods, or customer propensity to borrow.

David obtained his Bachelor’s from Lee University. After graduating in 2012, he began his career at PNC Bank as a commercial underwriter where he was responsible for optimizing business cashflow and underwriting loans.

Kim Miller

Director of Marketing

Kim Miller joined FinFit in early 2018 to build their marketing department, re-energize the brand and establish FinFit as the industry expert. She is an experienced marketing director with a demonstrated history of developing brand identities, increasing brand awareness and creating optimal customer experiences. Skilled in strategic product development, content creation, user experience, cross-channel marketing and customer engagement, she is passionate about moving the business forward and establishing FinFit as the industry leader.

She started her career at Brunner, a national advertising agency, helping to create a digital footprint in the emerging space. She supported a variety of brands including Consol Energy, Cub Cadet, Longhorn, Aquafresh, WesBanco and Huffy, and worked in every discipline from project and account management to copywriting to site architecture.

She moved to Virginia in 2010 and joined Dominion Enterprises, working in the marine, automotive and powersports divisions during her tenure. She helped build and grow their marketing departments, create brand identities, develop sales processes and tracking capabilities, and drive the product development for both B2B and B2C audiences.

Bill Hall

Chief Compliance Officer

Bill Hall serves as Compliance Officer for FinFit and is responsible for identifying, assessing, mitigating and monitoring all legal, regulatory, operational and reputational risks for the company.

Bill brings extensive legal and regulatory compliance experience to FinFit, primarily in the financial services industry. After beginning his legal career as an Associate Attorney with Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge and Rice in Winston-Salem, NC, Bill had a 19-year career in the Law Department at United Guaranty Corporation in Greensboro, NC. At United Guaranty, Bill served as Vice President and Associate General Counsel, as well as International Group General Counsel.

Bill earned a B.A. degree, cum laude, from Davidson College and a J.D. degree, with honors, from the University of North Carolina School of Law. Bill is licensed as an attorney in the state of North Carolina.

Brooke Saunders

Director of Human Resources

Brooke joined FinFit in early 2013 and focuses on key areas such as Talent Management, Employee Development and Training, Benefits, Payroll and Compensation, Business Strategy, Employee Relations and developing programs to increase employee engagement.

Brooke is a graduate of Old Dominion University and started her Human Resources Career at Robert Half International as a Staffing Manager in 2002. She worked there for 3 years and recruited, hired, interviewed, and placed administrative workers into office positions for her clients.

Brooke has years of experience in the hospitality field, where she served as both Human Resources Director and Resort Marketing Recruiter for large organizations such as Gold Key Resorts and LTD Limited. Her skills included the development of effective recruiting programs, handling all associate relations and counseling, tracking all worker’s compensation claims and other various HR functions to support the HR Manager.

Matt Fahy

Chief Financial Officer

Matthew Fahy serves as Chief Financial Officer for FinFit, with responsibility for the overall financial management of the company, including accounting, financial planning and analysis, credit and treasury functions and tax.

Matt brings extensive financial and operations management experience to FinFit, primarily in the technology industry. Before joining FinFit, Matt served as CFO and Executive Vice President of Global Services for AgilQuest Corporation, a Workplace Management Enterprise SaaS company. Prior to that, he served as CFO for Public Access Technologies, Inc. and QualityClick.com Inc. and oversaw the rapid growth of these Internet companies. Matt was also a Senior Manager for KPMG in the Information, Communications and Entertainment practice serving public and private media, entertainment and technology clients. Matt began his accounting career with Paul Scherer & Company, a boutique CPA firm in New York City serving Advanced Publications and Newhouse Broadcasting Corp., the largest privately held media company in the world.

Matt is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, specializing in Accounting & MIS. Matt received his CPA designation from the state of Ohio in 1993.

Paul Grosch

Chief Technology Officer

Paul Grosch is a seasoned technology executive with over 20 years of experience growing business through software development, infrastructure management, data analytics and customer support. He brings a wealth of experience with strengths in areas such as technology process standardization, measurement and disciplined innovation. Paul has worked across a broad spectrum of industries including construction, retail, hospitality, financial services and Department of Defense.

Paul joined the FinFit team in Q3 2018. Prior to joining FinFit, Paul served as the Vice President of Information Technology for Gold Key Hotels and Resorts, the largest and most demanding hospitality developer, owner and operator in the Mid-Atlantic. Paul led the technology team through a series of rapid growth, innovation and exit cycles. This included the $168MM sale of Gold Key Resorts in and recent sale of oceanfront Hilton properties valued over $87MM. Paul has also led state of the art development projects within Lockheed Martin and the Department of Defense.

Paul Grosch obtained his Bachelor and Master of Science in Computer Science from Old Dominion University. He holds an MBA from University of Virginia Darden School of Business. He is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified IT Service Management Expert (ITIL).

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