Why? In my 10 years as a CPA and 20 years in the consumer financial industry, I have experienced countless scenarios of challenging situations. Here is the formula that has worked in almost every one of them: solve today’s challenges before focusing on tomorrow’s.
Depending on the source, you will find general agreement in the marketplace that some 76-78% of our mid-market, fully-employed American workforce is living paycheck to paycheck. To add to that disturbing challenge, we all know that life does not follow a linear path. In fact, I believe many would agree that life is more of a rollercoaster than a sidewalk. If you can grasp those two facts, it becomes glaringly evident that these hard-working Americans are going to face shortages from time to time due to either a fluctuation in their cashflow (the rollercoaster) or an unplanned event (a broken-down vehicle or even more common, an unplanned medical cost).
We have a rule at FinFit: no problem can be addressed or raised without a possible and/or plausible solution. This is not to ensure we keep problems under wraps and unaddressed; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. We want people to address problems that are worthy of our time and resources. The absence of such an exercise is like telling me the sun is going to set this evening. I may not like it, but there is not much I can do about it. Instead, we focus on that for which we can effect change and improve upon.
By the way, I didn’t make this rule. It was established by our team. All of our company rules are established by the teams themselves – I’ll share more of our rules to live by in another post.
Let’s address the problem: Your employees are suffering challenging issues that affect their cashflow (whether you know about such or acknowledge such does not change the problem itself). There are few plausible solutions that will help solve their cashflow dilemmas that are affordable, responsible, efficient and prideful. If we don’t help them solve the problem, they will be forced into a variety of poor choices that include predatory solutions, theft, raiding their retirement accounts (if available), credit card advances (if available) or other poor (generally costly) choices. Banks don’t engage in short-term cashflow issues, and many American workers lack access to the credit privileges afforded to others. Oftentimes, being forced into one of these less than ideal solutions is the starting point of a complete financial collapse. When no plausible solutions are available to the employee, they spiral into financial destruction and become a distracted team member (at best) or a lost team member.
Now, let’s identify the solution: You, as an employer, are in a unique position to do two things:
- Care for your employees TODAY by providing a plausible, real-world solution that will help the employees solve their immediate financial challenge
- Offer them access to resources and activities that will allow them to better themselves through education and help prepare them to handle their situation when future challenges occur (developing savings accounts, rainy day funds, responsible credit relationships, banking services, budget plans, improved spending habits and much more).
Outside of your willingness to provide your employees access to such a solution, there is little to no cost to you as the employer. Big problem, plausible solution. Seems like a no-brainer.
No company can focus on a successful future unless they first solve today’s challenges. This is no different for your employees and team members. Focusing on long-term financial wellness without the ability to deal with real-time financial challenges is only offering half the solution - most likely to the half that least need it. Embrace the financially challenged employee base and help solve their crises today. Afford them the ability to think about their future. It’s the right thing to do, and it will pay dividends in gratitude, loyalty and productivity.
David Kilby has been president of FinFit since it was founded in 2008. He has grown the company from a single idea into the nation’s leading Financial Wellness Benefit platform, servicing over 125,000 clients. Prior to FinFit, David led a multimillion dollar financial holding company where he was inspired to find ways to help employees improve their financial health. He is committed to helping employees succeed today, and prepare to live healthier, more productive, financially stable lives.
Get in touch with him – he’d love to talk to you about your company, your employees and how he can help.