CF Industries made a commitment to its employees to provide financial education long before most companies were even aware of the need for this type of education. CF Industries (CFI) is the major operating subsidiary of CF Industries Holdings, Inc., one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of nitrogen and phosphate fertilizer products. The company has been through a number of mergers and is now based in the UK. But its Baton Rouge, LA location has been the hub of CFI’s financial literacy program for more than 15 years.
CF Industries has a number of successful top quality financial education programs that help. They have ranged from those assisting employees in crisis to others aiding employees in need of retirement and investment help. Their programs are most successful as they collaborate with leading experts. Financial education programs include budgeting classes, an on-site retirement consultant, an EAP employee emergency fund, and credit counseling.
In 1998, Dr. E. Thomas Garman, one of the founders of PFEEF, teamed with CFI to study the impact of EDSA’s financial education programs. It compared the financial wellness of those who participated in the programs versus those who had not participated. This study was one of the first research studies done to confirm the positive impact of financial education programs, and one of the first done with Virginia Tech’s National Institute for Personal Financial Employee Education. The findings supported the advantages of workplace financial education and the high quality of EDSA’s programs (See “Workplace Financial Education Improves Personal Financial Wellness,” Financial Counseling and Planning.). The study remains a key reference for the industry.
Participants reported better health and financial wellness, that they changed their investment strategy, and felt they were making better financial decisions due to the financial education, among other positive results. CF Industries also realized better benefits utilization, improved productivity, reduced turnover, improved morale, and other savings to its bottom line. One of the most significant money-saving results was a major increase in Flex Spending Account participation, which not only saved tax dollars (FICA, federal and state) for the employees, but also reduced the employer’s matching FICA taxes on those contributions.
More recently, CFI has shown its dedication to providing financial education to its employees through a series of semi-annual workshops and more personal one-on-one meetings. The EDSA Group’s financial education program at CFI has included live workshops, one-on-one, 1-hour meetings (called “Planning Plus” and offered during work hours), and access to its comprehensive online tool, Goodmoneyhabits.com. The after-hours workshops, which ranged from 3 to 6 hours each, include Money Concepts™, Money Basics™, Retiring Easy™, and The Magic of 401(k)®.
The company reports that EDSA’s financial education programs have prompted employee camaraderie — participants often met up for dinner before the workshops and discussed what they’ve learned together afterward. CF Industries’ commitment to improving the financial wellbeing of its employees by providing them access to quality financial education makes CFI an exemplary employer.