3 ways to rethink your financial wellness strategy

Most company financial wellness programs are guides on “how to slice your pie,” fixated on telling employees how to spend their paychecks. They explain how to budget, how much to save in an emergency fund and maybe — just maybe — how to pay off student loans before retirement.

When you tell someone how to slice their pie, it’s usually well-intentioned. It means you want them to make good decisions, feel secure and build a comfortable future.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work very well. It’s hard to know if your message is heard, and it’s even harder to measure its impact. If most employees are on a high-deductible health plan, you have much more effective tools at your fingertips — tools that can help your employees save real money and build for a better future.

Here are three ways you can use your position as a benefits provider to make a real difference in your employees’ financial health:

1. Give financial benefitsguidance center stage

There’s an ocean of financial advice out there, much of it dispensed by charismatic money gurus like Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman and Tony Robbins. When it comes to budgets and saving strategies, these popular figures carry a lot of credibility, and trying to compete with them is an uphill battle.

But when it comes to pre-paycheck tax-saving accounts — like an HSA or an FSA — you carry a lot of credibility. Public awareness of these accounts is critically low, and employers are uniquely positioned to fill that vacuum. You’re providing the benefit, so employees rely on you to explain how to use it.

The best part about focusing on pre-paycheck savings is being able to measure exactly how much impact you’re having. You have all the data: enrollment and contribution rates, balances, investment rates, education tool usage and tax savings. You can see what’s working, what’s not working and when it’s time to tweak your approach.

2. Rebrand open enrollment as an annual financial check-up

Deadlines and consequences are essential when motivating people to do something. Without them, many will put the task off forever. That’s why most financial wellness programs are toothless: It’s great advice, but most employees will just hit the snooze button — over and over and over.

Read the rest of Bob Armour’s article at HR Dive