Who doesn’t love a good game of Candy Land? If you’re not familiar with the popular children’s game, the goal is to be the first to advance your gingerbread man to Candy Castle to find King Candy.
Scenario 1 – Candy Land: You and your child are making short strides forward. You’re beginning to accomplish something! All of a sudden, through the draw of just one lousy card, you’re back to where you started. Better you than a 3 year old, but no less deflating.
Scenario 2 – Real Life: An employee is utilizing the financial wellness program offered by their employer. They take the initial assessment to see where they can gain the greatest benefit and start the educational track recommended. They create their first real budget and start to follow it, getting a little better at saying no to impulse purchases and paying off as much of their debt as possible each week. One payday at a time, they make short strides forward. They’re beginning to accomplish something!
And then, Candy Land hits. They draw a lousy card. They’ve been hit with an unplanned financial emergency that their meager savings isn’t big enough to handle yet. Just like that, they’re staring down the starting line. Is it back to square one?
This is real life. It’s not a game. Talk about deflating. However, this lousy card doesn’t have to send them back to square one.
This is when a truly holistic, comprehensive financial wellness platform can save the day. It provides real-world solutions when you draw the lousy card. Unlike Candy Land where you can just move forward again on the next turn, coming up with hundreds/thousands of dollars isn’t that easy. Especially when an employee is weighed down with debt. Sometimes employees looking to come up with the emergency cash are faced with difficult choices including more credit card debt, high-interest loans, raiding their 401(k), theft, fraud or worse, they’ll fail. That’s where financial wellness programs shine.
The good news is that with the growing maturity of the financial wellness industry, new products to support the success of employee and employer financial wellness goals are emerging. One such product is an early wage access solution. Traditionally, the US workforce experiences a weekly or bi-weekly pay schedule, in part due to the labor-intensity of manually processing payroll, among other reasons. The advancement of technology and the arrival of the gig economy is now challenging this mindset with companies like Lyft and Uber giving their workers the option to “cash out” at the end of a work day.
A daily “cash out” is new for the standard workforce; it provides an option for employees to request wages on an as-needed basis and it is emerging as an available component of a financial wellness benefit.
Employers looking to help employees protect their retirement accounts and end the practice of labor-intensive payroll advances are opting in to early wage access solutions such as FinFit’s WageNow.
If our newbie-saver employee had an early wage access benefit like WageNow, they’d be able to request and instantly receive up to 50% of their earned wages to help cover their cash flow challenge. Not only would their fragile finances avoid the hit of potential penalties, fees and interest if they were forced down another path, they’d also be given the opportunity to avoid going further into debt.
It’s one thing to offer a financial wellness program. It’s another to fully stand behind it and support employees trying to improve their financial wellbeing. Give employees a fighting chance at a win by giving them every possible resource to support them on their journey.