As financial wellness becomes more of a common component to workplace wellness programs, many smaller employers are considering the cost sharing aspect of bringing financial guidance to their employees. With tight budgets, some CEOs view the ability to meet with a financial planner during working hours as a perk that employees should be happy to pay for. But are they willing?
I recently worked with a client who was considering offering on-site workshops and a follow-up one-on-one financial consultation for all of their employees who were within about 10 years of retirement. The cost for this program, which was going to be available to a few hundred employees, averaged out to about $350 per worker. Since the CEO himself pays for a fee-based financial advisor who manages his own personal overall financial plan, he felt that his employees would also be willing to pay for a similar service. But according to a Kiplinger’s article, persuading many middle-income consumers that advice is worth paying for can be a challenge. “I have found that people are more interested in paying for advice from the psychic network — where they charge you by the minute — than they are for a financial planner,” says Susan John, president of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. In fact, when the HR manager surveyed his employees to see if they would be willing to pay all or a portion of a $350 fee for worksite financial planning, only 4% of the workforce was willing to pay the entire cost and 43% said they would not be willing to pay any of the cost.
However, 96% of this same group of employees felt that it was important to receive financial education from their employer. Obviously, they just don’t want to have to pay for it themselves. For many employees who are living paycheck to paycheck or are overwhelmed with debt, speaking to a financial counselor about their finances could provide the coaching they need to acquire basic money management skills. So the employees who might benefit the most from a financial consultation are usually the ones in the least likely position to pay for the guidance.