The Digital Age Empowers Financial Wellness

Financial wellness, as an employee benefit, benefits from digital technology.

The rise of self-service applications, machine intelligence and e-learning approaches have allowed financial wellness providers to deliver personalized education to employees when and where they want it, says Dave Zielinski in a recent SHRM article. Experts say the best of these approaches use technology to improve employee access to and the efficient use of financial information, enabling financial counselors to address more-complex emotional or family-related issues often connected to employees’ financial challenges.

Over 90 percent of Americans own a smartphone

The digital revolution continues to grow. According to InternetWorldStats.com, the number of global internet users as of March 2019 stood at 4.3 billion people—almost 57 percent of Earth’s population—up from 50 percent two years ago. North America, with only 4.7 percent of the world’s population, boasts the highest penetration rate—almost 90 percent of our continent’s inhabitants have internet access.

Chances are, you’re reading this on your phone or smart device.

Millennials or Generation Y (people born between 1980 and the early 2000s), touch their smartphones 45 times a day according to smartinsights.com. It makes sense that financial wellness, delivered digitally, is readily accepted and covers a very wide swath of the population.

Employees and employers agree

Financial wellness is in demand. Both employees and stakeholders are asking for it, says the U.S Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF). Eighty-six percent of employees surveyed by Harris said it was important. Aon Hewitt says that about 93 percent of major employers want to do more to help their employees better understand finances, and some 55 percent of these employers already offer financial wellness programs.

According to the USCCF, areas such as budgeting, savings, debt management and credit are core elements of financial wellness. We also know that practical financial solutions, personalized and individual dashboards, and motivational concepts are critical to financial wellness platform success.

E-book use is growing

Of the billion books sold in 2017, about 25 percent were e-books. Recent e-book sales have declined slightly, but there are other mitigating circumstances at work here (including illegal book downloads, piracy, and shared streaming accounts) according to Statistca.com. The fact is, among Millennials and other heavy smart device users, e-book use is growing. Among the 18-39-year-old-market, 34 percent read at least one e-book in 2018, followed closely by the 30-49 market at 31 percent.

The Podcast Explosion

73 million Americans listen to a podcast every month—26% percent of the country! Listenership has doubled in the past four years.

Based on research from EX-IQ, the most popular podcast genres are comedy, educational and news.

50% of Millennials listen to educational podcasts. 68% of all podcast listeners agreed that podcasts contribute to their intellectual growth.

Perhaps one of the reasons is information retention. The Cultural Orientation Resource Center estimates that the retention rate of auditory learning is two times higher than reading, and four times higher than attending a lecture. On their time and at their place

One of the mainstays of any financial wellness program is personalized education and fiscal forecasting. Employees joining a financial wellness program first go through a personal assessment to benchmark their current situation and identify their goals.

Then, on their time and at their place, they can access their information to learn about buying a car or a home, and play “what if” scenarios to know in advance what kind of a car or house they can afford.

Personal dashboards tell them how much money is in their accounts, when the electric bill is due, and how much they’ve budgeted for groceries. As I’ve predicted in The New Productivity Engine, personal dashboards continue to evolve rapidly. Employees will save on everyday activities, like their morning coffee run, as interactive maps and brick-and-mortar shops integrate into the system.

Financial wellness brings tangible benefits to both employer and employee

Employees have less financial stress, better utilization of their money and more purpose in their work as engaged participants of a financial wellness program. Since employees want financial wellness as a work benefit, employers offering it find that recruitment and hiring are easier, engagement and productivity increase, and employees stay longer. It’s a win-win for everyone.

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 150,000 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.

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