View All Services

Research & Best Practices

Financial Finesse employs a Think Tank of Certified Financial Planner™ professionals to research trends in employee financial issues by analyzing Financial Finesse's primary research on employees' financial questions and concerns as well as hundreds of other industry and government resources.

The Think Tank is also responsible for measuring the success of different financial education programs and establishing industry best practices.

Latest Best Practices and Research

2013 Year in Review Research

Employees became significantly more engaged and focused on their finances in 2013 versus previous years, approaching financial management as a lifestyle choice rather than a series of decision points. As a result, employers offering an online financial learning platform since 2010 when the tool was originally launched have seen registrations grow 85% and overall usage grow 166% since then.

Continue reading this post …

Posted in Featured Research, Research |

2013 Generational Research

In our previous generational research report, we examined the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, and educational needs of Millennials, Generation Xers, Late Boomers, and Early Boomers. We also highlighted key trends to watch. In this report, we examine how each generation is doing a year later, and then highlight some key areas to look out for over the next year.

Click here to download the full report

Posted in Featured Press, Featured Research, Research |

Trends in Employee Financial Issues Q3 2013

After holding steady in the second quarter, employee financial wellness declined in Q3. Employees that completed a financial wellness assessment showed improvements in cash and debt management, but the overall financial wellness score fell below 5.0 for the first time since Q1 2012. Employees may be moving from a place of ignorance to a place of enlightenment as the percentage of employees that answer “I don’t know” to important financial questions has decreased over the last two years. However, as more employees become aware of their financial shortcomings, a new sense of worry may be creeping back into the national psyche.

Click here to download the full report

Posted in Featured Press, Featured Research, Research |

State of U.S. Employee Retirement Preparedness

The retirement preparedness of U.S. employees has slightly improved since last year. Twenty percent of employees that have taken a financial wellness assessment report being on track to reach their income-replacement goal in retirement, up from 18% last year and 14% the year prior. It is important that this general trend continue in order to avoid a major retirement crisis as government and corporate retirement benefits are expected to provide less income replacement in the future.

Click here to download the full report

Posted in Research |

Case Study: Impact of Employee Financial Stress on Health Care Costs

Finances are the leading cause of employee stress, which can cost a company significantly in health care costs. Read a case study of one Fortune 500 company’s financial wellness program and how it improved employees’ financial wellness, increased retirement plan participation and reduced health care and other costs to the company’s bottom line.

Download this Case Study

Posted in Best Practices, Case Studies, Featured Press | Tagged , , , |

Trends in Employee Financial Issues Q2 2013

This quarter was, on balance, a strong one for employees from a financial perspective. Investment confidence has increased significantly since last year with 40% of employees indicating they are confident with their investment strategy versus 33% in Q2 2012 and 28% in Q2 2011. Economic confidence is also notably higher, with the minority of employees reporting being worried about the
U.S. economy.

Click here to download the full report

Posted in Research |

Gender Gap in Financial Literacy

From Q1 2010 to Q1 2012 we have seen a steady widening of the financial literacy gap between men and women, but data from Q1 2013 shows that this trend may be stabilizing instead of worsening as it had over the last few years.

Click here to download the full report

Posted in Research |

2013 Trends in Employee Financial Stress Research

Continued concerns about the U.S. economy lead the way in causing financial stress in the workforce in the first quarter of 2013, but stress levels due to financial issues have been steadily decreasing over the past few years and have now leveled off. As we move farther away from the Great Recession and the recent threat of the so called “fiscal cliff,” employees are increasingly less likely to report high or overwhelming levels of financial stress. However, more concerning is that financial stress is most pervasive among key demographics that make up a large percentage of the American workforce. According to our findings, financial stress varies dramatically based on employee demographics.

Click here to download the full report

Posted in Research |

2013 Q1 Trends in Employee Financial Issues

Employee financial wellness improved in the first quarter of 2013, extending a long-term trend that began in the first quarter of 2010. Employees’ overall financial wellness score reached 5.2 out of 10 vs. 4.9 out of 10 one year ago, as measured by Financial Finesse’s proprietary financial wellness scale.

Click here to download the full report

Posted in Research |

No Backslide in Retirement Preparedness in 2012

There was no decline in retirement preparedness among employees in 2012 despite a decline in overall financial wellness, according to data from Financial Finesse…

Download this document.

Posted in Press | Tagged , , , , |

Financial Finesse Research: 2012 Year in Review, Trends in Employee Finanical Issues

After starting the year with a significant backslide in financial wellness, employees regained some of their financial footing and closed out the year slightly behind 2011, though still ahead of 2009 and 2010. The most substantial decline occurred in the area of cash management:

Click here to download the full report

Posted in Research |

Latest Behavioral Change Report

Summary of results compiled from 3576 workshops conducted between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2012 from surveys given to participants 30 days after the workshops to measure what changes they have made since.

Findings:

  • 88% of participants who answered this survey took action to improve their finances.
  • On average, participants made 3 of these changes.

Download this document.

Posted in Best Practices |

Financial Finesse Special Report: Analysis of How Different Generations Are Managing Their Finances

Over the last few years, our research has documented how U.S. employees have generally emerged from the Great Recession with improvements in their day‐to‐day money management but with a continuing shortfall in their retirement readiness. However, the Great Recession has not left all age groups in the same place. Each generation faces its own unique set of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges when it comes to planning for retirement:

Click here to download the full report

Posted in Research |

Trends in Employee Financial Issues Q3 2012

After a rough start to 2012, employees’ financial wellness seems to have returned to 2011 levels. Wellness scores were at or above 2011 numbers in most categories, capping a steady climb back following declines earlier in the year. Part of the recovery in financial wellness may be due to the shift in focus back on day-to-day cash management issues.

Continue reading this post …

Posted in Research |

2012 Retirement Preparedness Research Report: State of U.S. Employee Retirement Preparedness

Employees are continuing to focus on retirement planning, but slight improvements in retirement planning behavior are being overshadowed by steps back in money management behavior. This is a serious concern due to expected changes in the economic climate. Reductions in government and corporate benefits, and expected increases in health care costs, inflation, and taxes are likely to put significant pressure on employees and require much more aggressive savings rates in order to meet retirement goals.

Continue reading this post …

Posted in Research |

Best Practices Around How to Design and Implement Behavior Changing Financial Wellness Programs

Download the Abstract

The Financial Wellness guide provides HR professionals with insights, best practices, case studies and tools to develop custom financial wellness programs that effectively change employees’ financial behaviors and improve their overall wellness. The guide is designed to act as a comprehensive workbook including our trade secrets and proprietary behavioral change model as well as other models for successful programs to help HR and benefits professionals design and implement a financial wellness program from start to finish, whether it is entirely in-house or through a third-party vendor. To download an abstract of the guide, fill out the form at the bottom of this page.

Continue reading this post …

Posted in Featured Press, Featured Research, Research |

Q2 2012 Research: Trends in Employee Financial Issues

Employees are continuing to approach their finances with a proactive, take control mindset, with a particularly strong focus on retirement planning. They also demonstrated some minor, but broad based improvements to their financial wellness in Q2—recovering some ground from a backslide in Q1.

Click here to download the full report

Posted in Research |

2012 Financial Finesse Special Report: Gender Gap in Financial Literacy

Even though women make up the majority of college graduates and are increasingly making strides in the workforce, there is still a significant and growing gender gap when it comes to financial wellness. Women lag men in many areas of financial planning, and they are significantly behind in two of the most critical areas—basic money management, which is the foundation for financial planning, and investing, which is a necessary skill to grow wealth over time.

Click here to download the full report

Posted in Research |

Financial Finesse Special Report: 2012 Financial Stress Research

Money, work, and the economy continue to be the leading causes of stress in America today, but stress levels due to financial concerns have been steadily decreasing over the past few years, and as we move farther away from the height of the Great Recession, many employees appear to have put it behind them.  In general, this is a positive trend, but there are some signs that complacency may be settling in.

Click here to download the full report

Posted in Research |

Financial Finesse: Trends in Employee Financial Issues Q1 2012

While overall financial wellness measures have improved since 2009, employees as a whole appear to be seeking balance between improving short-term money management behaviors, and planning for long-term goals such as retirement. The percentage of proactive employee questions has increased, while at the same time, the overall trend of improvement in financial wellness scores appears to be leveling off. Despite an increased focus on retirement planning, employees still report being woefully unprepared for retirement, and recent stock market performance has done little to change employees’ confidence in their investments. This could be the result of lost momentum coming out of a “soft” recovery, or the early signs of an impending second recession.

Click here to download the full report

Posted in Research |

Trends in Employee Financial Issues: Year in Review 2011

Despite continued economic uncertainty, stock market volatility, and the recent downgrade of the U.S. credit rating, employees are still positioning themselves for their personal financial recovery and it is showing as financial stress levels continue to trend downward. Employees continued to show improvements in their ability to manage cash flow, indicated they are paying bills on time in greater numbers, reported increased emergency savings, and are also displaying higher rates of paying off credit card balances in full. As a result of improvements in managing day-to-day finances, employees have been able to shift their focus to longer term financial planning issues such as retirement planning.

Click here to download the full report

Posted in Research | Tagged , , , , , , |

US Workers Delay Retirement

U.S. workers have been working longer and retiring later since the mid-1990s, but the Great Recession has put even greater pressure on workers to stay on the job. Yet, increases in delayed retirement are not uniform across regions, industries, or occupations. Moreover, these trends are quite predictable and thus useful for forecasting and planning. Businesses can build a better workforce strategy by incorporating retirement trends specific to their operating environment.

Download this document.

Posted in Research | Tagged |

Employee Perspective on Heathcare – Employee Engagement

With the economy still unstable, many employees face the strain of job insecurities, rising benefit costs and resulting financial troubles. With so many competing pressures, it’s not surprising many workers are failing to place a high priority on managing their health. This is concerning to both employers and employees: For employees, a decline in health could begin a vicious cycle of increasing out-of-pocket health care costs and stress. And employers could face increasing health care benefit costs and unscheduled employee absences — and, ultimately, a less productive workforce. The implications for workforce productivity and the organization’s performance are potentially great.

Download this document.

Posted in Research | Tagged , , , |

Financial Finesse: Trends in Employee Financial Issues Q3 2011

The message is loud and clear: employees need to take responsibility for their own retirement security. Last quarter, employees responded to this message by asking one out of every three questions on retirement planning. This was a sizeable increase over previous quarters, partly due to changes in employers’ retirement plans, bringing a focus on retirement to the forefront for employees. In our Q2 2011 research report we noted that an increased focus on retirement made employees aware of their unpreparedness and we are seeing that trend continue.

Click here to download the full report

Posted in Featured Press, Featured Research, Research |

Impact of Low Financial Wellness on the Employee

Low levels of financial wellness have harmful impacts on employees. American employees are experiencing increasing amounts of stress associated with financial well-being. Worse yet, in order to cope with the stress, many employees report engaging in behaviors that will make matters worse.

Download this document.

Posted in Research | Tagged , , |

Accelerating Health Care Costs Wiping Out Much of Americans’ Income Gains

Fast-rising health care costs have eaten nearly all the income gains made by a median-income American family of four over the past decade, leaving them with just $95 per month in extra income, after accounting for taxes and price increases, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Had health care costs risen only as fast as the cost of other goods and services in the United States from 1999 to 2009, the same family would have an additional $545 per month to spend in 2009, according to findings published in the September edition of the journal Health Affairs.

Download this document.

Posted in Research | Tagged , , |

Employee Financial Stress is Costing Your Company a Bundle

There is a silent epidemic that afflicts 30 million workers in the US—a quarter of the American workforce—and is costing businesses $15,000 per year per affected employee. Over 25 years ago, it was reported that an employee’s personal finance problems had a direct negative affect on their employer’s profitability. When first reported in 1979, 10% of working adults reported that they routinely experience personal financial difficulties; today that number is up to 25%.

Financial stress is frequently listed as the top source of all the stress experienced by employees.

For more information visit: http://isles.org/services/financial-solutions

Download this document.

Posted in Research | Tagged , , , , |

The Effect of Providing Peer Information on Retirement Savings Decisions

The Financial Literacy Center conducted a field experiment to evaluate the effect of receiving information about the retirement savings decisions of one’s peers. Non-participants and low savers in one firm’s 401(k) plan received letters enabling them to enroll or increase their plan contribution rate by returning a simple reply form…

Download this document.

Tagged , , , |

Will you need 135% of your income in retirement?

It is the mother of unanswerable questions in the world of retirement planning. How much of your current salary will you need after you retire? The replacement ratio rule of thumb suggests you might need 75% – 80% of your current salary from a variety of sources – be it Social Security, personal assets (a 401(k) and IRA, for instance), earned income (yes, you’ll likely be working in retirement), and the like – to enjoy the same standard of living while in retirement as before…

Download this document.

Posted in Research | Tagged , , , |

9th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends

The 9th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends delivers a clear message to employers: Reprioritize employee loyalty and satisfaction, or economic recovery may arrive with unanticipated setbacks for retention and productivity.

Download this document.

Posted in Research |

A Simple Voluntary Benefit That Goes a Long Way – Group Legal

The group legal plan is growing. More employers are slashing budgets, which often equals cutting benefits. No more 401(k) matching, a high-deductible health plan becomes the only option, and money gets tight and employees see it and feel it.

Enter the group legal plan. It doesn’t cancel out employees’ sticker shock over an HDHP, but it does mean that at a relatively low cost, an employee can see an attorney at, say, $15.95 a month.

Download this document.

Posted in Research | Tagged , , , |

The Need for Financial Wellness

Considering the recent financial crisis and the current trends of high mortgages and debt, it is more important than ever for employees to make wise financial decisions. Many of these financial decisions, for example, choice of health insurer and retirement planning, are made with the assistance of employers, who are in a unique position to assist their employees in making wise financial decisions.

Download this document.

Posted in Research | Tagged , , , |

Coming Up with Cash in a Pinch: Emergency Savings and Its Alternatives

It is widely recognized that a significant proportion of U.S. households would benefit from spending less and saving more. Important household financial decisions such as paying down debt, investing in a home or an education, and setting aside sufficient funds for retirement have garnered a great deal of attention among researchers and policymakers.

This brief summarizes a paper that reviews 80 articles about savings and households’  ability to access cash quickly to meet unexpected expenses (see Chase, Gjertson, & Collins, 2011).

Download this document.

Posted in Research | Tagged , |

EBRI Retirement Confidence Survey: Fact Sheet #2 – Preparing for Retirement in America

Although Americans’ confidence in their ability to secure a financially comfortable retirement has continued to fall, they do not appear to be taking steps to compensate by improving their preparations for retirement.

Download this document.

Posted in Research | Tagged , , , |

Focus on Employees’ Financial Wellness – Is Today’s Focus on Health Promotion Programs too Narrow?

An astute employer – particularly one that is already investing significant dollars in health promotion – will see the benefit of assisting employees in becoming smart savers, spenders and investors as well. These employers understand that by improving the financial wellness of employees they are also creating an environment for better overall employee wellness.

Download this document.

Posted in Research | Tagged , |

Increasing the Effectiveness of Retirement Savings

Studies about education and behavioral change have long held that multi-dimensional education programs are more effective at driving behavioral change that those that are more liner.  This study, targeting female and low income employees, used two main methods to provide information about participating in the retirement plan- flyers and videos.  Generally, the videos were more effective at motivating behavioral change in the employee group, thus reinforcing the supposition that programs rich in delivery methods are more effective in motivating employees to take action.

Download this document.

Posted in Research | Tagged , , |

The Hidden Cost of Employee Confusion About Healthcare

How well do your employees really understand their health plan? Do you know the readability score of the materials you provide them? How much jargon is included in your summary plan descriptions? How do you educate new grads entering the workforce and individuals working in the U.S. for the first time on the intricacies of health insurance? Is it even an employer’s responsibility to improve health literacy?

Download this document.

Posted in Research | Tagged , , |

Financial Finesse Special Report: State of U.S. Employees’ Retirement Preparedness

Retirement preparedness is enormously hard to gauge because there are so many unknown variables. We have no way of knowing future market returns, nor can we accurately predict economic cycles that create and destroy wealth. Accordingly, this report focuses on the component of retirement preparedness that is the easiest to pinpoint—what employees are doing to prepare themselves.

Click to download the full report

Posted in Research |

EBRI Retirement Confidence Survey: Fact Sheet #1

The past few years saw a sharp decline in Americans’ confidence about their ability to secure a financially comfortable retirement. What has happened to confidence now that some economic indicators are improving? The 2011 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) finds that worker confidence in having enough money to live comfortably throughout their retirement years has continued to decline.

Download this document.

Posted in Research | Tagged , , |

Three Key Variables That Drive Retirement Preparedness

In a recent survey of nearly 3,300 working Americans to help determine current levels of retirement preparedness, Putnam Investments identified three key variables that drive successful outcomes. The most powerful factor, regardless of income level, is a pattern of disciplined, long-term savings and investing. Households with access to a workplace savings plan and those that work with financial advisors were also significantly better positioned for retirement than their counterparts.

Download this document.

Posted in Best Practices, Press | Tagged , , , , |

Workplace Benefits That are Rapidly Disappearing

Traditional pension plans, paid family leave, and even the company picnic are all on the decline. Employers have significantly cut many of the benefits they offer to workers over the past five years. Some 77 percent of companies report that benefits offerings have been negatively affected by the slow pace of recovery, according to a Society for Human Resource Management survey of 600 human resources professionals.  Here is a look at workplace perks that have declines since 2007.

Download this document.

Posted in Best Practices | Tagged , , |

Weighing the Affects of Financial Education in the Workplace

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City assessed the need for financial education by reviewing national trends in personal finance as well as literature on the subject.  Their findings indicate that financial education did improve personal financial outcomes.  Examples include decreased requests for 401(k) loans and pay advances, increased use of tax-advantaged benefits like flexible spending accounts, and increase participate and contribution levels to retirement savings plans.

Download this document.

Posted in Best Practices | Tagged , , , , |

How to Design a Financial Education Program that Reduces Your Company’s Legal Liability

As the legal environment is tightening around plan sponsor’s fiduciary responsibilities, we regularly get questions from plan sponsors on what type of education program they need to offer employees to adequately protect themselves against lawsuits from employees claiming they did not receive sufficient information on how to effectively manage their retirement plans.

Download this document.

Posted in Best Practices | Tagged , , , , , |

Stress’s Impact on Children: 80% of Parents Cite Money as a Source of Stress

As the U.S. economy continues to struggle for the third year, findings from the 2010 Stress in America survey paint a picture of an overstressed nation. Feeling the effects of prolonged financial and other recession-related difficulties, Americans are struggling to balance work and home life and make time to engage in healthy behaviors, with stress not only taking a toll on their personal physical health, but also affecting the emotional and physical well-being of their families.

Download this document.

Posted in Best Practices | Tagged , , , , |

Financial Wellness: 5 Essential Elements of Well Being

Gallup scientists have been exploring the demands of a life well-lived since the mid-20th century. More recently, in partnership with leading economists, psychologists, and other acclaimed scientists, we began to explore the common elements of wellbeing that transcend countries and cultures.

In our initial research, we asked people what “the best possible future” for them would look like.

As part of this research, Gallup conducted a comprehensive global study of more than 150 countries, giving us a lens into the wellbeing of more than 98% of the world’s population. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, we asked hundreds of questions about health, wealth, relationships, jobs, and communities. We then compared these results to how people experience their days and evaluate their lives overall.

Download this document.

Posted in Best Practices | Tagged , , , , |

The Financial Cost of Obesity

Weight and finances have been discussed at length on personal finance blogs, but mostly the similarities between money and weight management. There’s been little discussion about the total annual cost of obesity for an individual because most research offers anecdotal evidence of higher costs associated with obesity, but not a dollar amount for a single person.

Last fall George Washington University released a report [PDF] that put a figure to the staggering individual costs of being obese in America. Dr. Avi Dor, report author and professor and director of the health economics program at The George Washington University, and his colleagues quantified indirect costs, direct costs, and lost productivity to arrive at an estimated total cost of being an obese individual.  …

Download this document.

Posted in Best Practices | Tagged , , , |

Best Practices for Evaluating Employee Retirement Preparedness

Employers are increasingly concerned about the costs of delayed retirement and rightly so. But before they can even begin to project the costs they will face as a company due to employees postponing retirement, they must first determine their employees’ overall retirement preparedness. Namely, what percentage of employees are on track financially to retire by normal retirement age and what percentage will most likely have to postpone retirement by 1, 3, 5, and 10 plus years? …

Download this document.

Posted in Best Practices, Featured Research | Tagged , , , , , |

Financial Finesse Trends in Employee Financial Issues Q2 2011

Last quarter we noted that employees improved their financial wellness, particularly in the area of money management. In the second quarter of 2011, employees managed to sustain these improvements, and as a result were able to focus more attention on longer-term financial issues.

Key Trends from the Report

- Employees sustained a trend seen since 2009 in improving their day-to-day money management skills. In the first two quarters of 2011:

  • 71% of employees reported having a handle on their cash flow versus 64% 2010.
  • 88% of employees reported paying bills on time up from 82% in 2010.
  • 53% of employees reported having an emergency fund versus 48% in 2010.
  • 57% of employees reported regularly paying off credit card balances in full versus 51% in 2010.

-As a result, employees were able to put heavier focus on longer-term issues, especially retirement planning.  Nearly 60% of questions received by our financial planners were about long-term planning issues, and one in four employees expressed interest in discussing retirement planning specifically.

Continue reading this post …

Posted in Featured Research, Research | Tagged , , , , , , , |

Best Practices: The Hidden Cost of Employee Confusion about Health Care

How well do your employees really understand their health plan? Do you know the readability score of the materials you provide them? How much jargon is included in your summary plan descriptions? How do you educate new grads entering the workforce and individuals working in the U.S. for the first time on the intricacies of health insurance? Is it even an employer’s responsibility to improve health literacy?

To read this article on benefits planning around health insurance….

Download this document.

Total Absence Management – A Holistic Approach to Health and Financial Wellness

Total absence management is often associated with family medical leave (FML), an employer’s disability insurance program and work schedules. However, it is also important that employers think about a holistic approach to health and financial wellness, as these issues can keep employees out of work as well.  This article discusses mitigating absences in the first place to increase productivity.

Download this document.

Posted in Best Practices | Tagged , , , , |

CASE STUDY: How Dana Hammonds Successfully Marketed Financial Education to NFL Players

This case study highlights how Dana Hammonds Director of Player Services and Development for the NFL Players Association developed a financial education program that was more than the association had hoped for and became a model for effectively marketing financial education to groups that seem least likely to use it.

Click here to download the case study

Posted in Best Practices, Case Studies, Featured Research | Tagged , , |

Financial Finesse Special Report: The Gender Gap in Financial Literacy 2011

Key findings from Gender Gap in Financial Literacy report:

• Women are significantly behind in virtually all areas of financial knowledge. On top of that, they face more challenges in meeting their retirement and other long-term goals.
Click to download the full report

Posted in Featured Research, Research | Tagged , , , , , , , |

Best Practices in Employee Financial Education for Different Generations

When designing financial education programs for employees, companies that keep in mind generational differences in viewpoints, learning styles and adaptation to technology build more effective programs. Every individual is unique but at the same time, generations undeniably share a world view and have their own unique group characteristics.

Originally published in 401k helpcenter April 2011

Download this document.

Posted in Best Practices, Research | Tagged , , , , , , , , |

Financial Finesse Special Report: Financial Stress Among US Employees

An estimated 60% of illness is directly or indirectly caused by financial stress, costing most large and medium sized companies millions of dollars per year in health care expenses.  Because of the serious health risks that employees with financial stress face, and the potential  effects this has on employers and our economy as a whole, we have compiled this report to gauge employees’ perceived levels of financial stress and their causes. Click to see summary of findings

Posted in Featured Research, Research | Tagged , , , |

Financial Finesse Trends in Employee Financial Issues Q1 2011

Financial wellness is continuing to improve for most employees, particularly in the areas of money management skills, but retirement preparedness is still at dangerously low levels, with a drop in retirement confidence from Q4 2010 to Q1 2011.

Key Trends from the Report

- Employees are improving their cash management skills, making improvements since the first quarter of 2010 in all areas of cash management:

  • 72% of employees report having a handle on cash flow (up from 64% in 2010)
  • 54% of employees report having an emergency fund (up from 48% in 2010)
  • 88% of employees report paying bills on time (up from 82% in 2010)

Continue reading this post …

Posted in Featured Research, Research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

Benefits Planning: A Forward Thinking Approach Presentation by CEO and Founder, Liz Davidson

Please fill out the form below to download “Benefits Planning: A Forward Thinking Approach.”
Continue reading this post …

Posted in Best Practices, Managing Employee Benefits |

CASE STUDY: Komatsu Defies Odds by Successfully Integrating Acquisitions

This case study highlights how Ira Finn, Sr. Benefits Manager for Komatsu integrated a successful acquisition of subsidiaries, increasing employees’ retirement plan participation and creating a culture of commitment through effective benefits education.
Continue reading this post …

Posted in Best Practices, Case Studies |

Trends in Employee Financial Issues: 2010 Year in Review

The big news in 2010 was the improvement employees made to their finances and their increased commitment to financial planning.  Employees have overcome the wave of layoffs and foreclosures and have started making advancements in the areas of debt management and retirement planning.  They are spending less so that they can save more, and with the help of loan modifications, they are starting to pay down debt.  They have more of a handle on cash flow, a better understanding of investing, and a greater percentage report being on track for retirement.  We saw a marked decrease in calls concerning short-term financial issues and an increased interest in long-term financial planning.
Continue reading this post …

Posted in Featured Research, Research |

Schedule for Research 2011

Financial concerns play a large role in the workplace, both from the employee perspective and their employer’s. Our research studies employees’ ever-changing priorities to determine their most pressing financial concerns related to varying influential factors inside and outside of the workplace.

Download this document.

Posted in Research | Tagged , , |

Financial Finesse Think Tank

Financial Finesse’s Think Tank of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals develop research on trends in employee financial issues by tracking and analyzing primary data from employees’ financial questions and concerns. The Think Tank publishes research on key financial trends, retirement preparedness, and financial wellness, and studies topics such as the gender gap in financial literacy and generational issues. The team is responsible for measuring the success of different financial education programs and has established best practices for the industry.

For more information click here.

Posted in Research | Tagged , |

Why Financial Stress Is the Costliest for Your Health

Studies have already proven that financial stress is costly to employees’ health, but a new study from Finnish Researchers reveals that this type of stress is also a leading cause of metabolic syndrome. In this article, the author describes findings from the study and gives best practices for employees on how to handle the financial stress of difficult economic times.

Download this document.

Posted in Best Practices, Managing Employee Benefits | Tagged , , , |

Trends in Workplace Retirement Education

Plan sponsors want to make sure they are ahead of the curve with their retirement education programs rather than responding too late to major industry changes. To do so, they need to know the key trends in workplace retirement education and financial education…

Download this document.

Posted in Best Practices, Financial Education | Tagged , |

Making the Case for Unbiased Education

Employers are recognizing the need for in-depth retirement education to help employees get back on track for retirement. Due to current economic conditions, employees are delaying retirement. According to a study by Pew Research Center in September 2009, nearly four in ten adults working past the age of 62 are saying they delayed retirement because of the recession and workers in their 50′s reported they plan on pushing back their expected retirement date…

Download this document.

Posted in Best Practices, Financial Education | Tagged , , |

HR Answers: Benefits Planning Programs

Credit unions and their HR departments have had to deal with a lot of changes to company benefits with the recent economy. For HR the task of communicating the changes has been a tough one—many employees are needing to fund more of their own health care and their own retirement and some have lost pensions and other benefits they deemed valuable to meeting future financial goals. On top of it, they may have little understanding of how to handle these changes on their own…

Download this document.

Posted in Best Practices, Managing Employee Benefits | Tagged , |

How to Design a Retirement Education Program That Reduces Your Company’s Legal Liability

As the legal environment is tightening around plan sponsors’ fiduciary responsibilities, we regularly get questions from plan sponsors on what type of education program they need to offer employees to adequately protect themselves against lawsuits from employees claiming they did not receive sufficient information on how to effectively manage their retirement plans…

Download this document.

Posted in Best Practices, Managing Retirement Plans | Tagged , , , , |

Managing Retirement Plan Changes

Question:
We are constantly making changes to our retirement plan. The problem is, employees are confused because changes happen so rapidly, and sometimes even changes that we consider to be positive are being taken out of context. How can we catch up on the communication side so employees are clear on our current retirement plan design?

Download this document.

Posted in Best Practices, Managing Retirement Plans | Tagged , , , |

Financial Guidance not Advice is Best Offer to Employees

Question: I want to offer my employees a program to help them with their finances, but I have concerns about both financial education and financial advice. I don’t think financial education will be effective because our employees really need to know what to do—they aren’t interested in learning financial terms. Then there are all the legal issues associated with advice, and we are not willing to have our employees used as a sales channel…

Download this document.

Posted in Best Practices, Financial Education | Tagged , , , , |

Funding Options For Financial Education

Question:
We are not happy with the financial education we get now through our retirement provider as it is sales driven and focused almost exclusively on retirement planning when a lot of our employees need support around basic money management…

Download this document.

Posted in Best Practices, Financial Education | Tagged |

Trends in Employee Financial Issues: Q3 2010

The tide has shifted, and never before have we seen so many employees focused on long-term planning. In Q3 2010, more than 1 in every 4 calls into our Financial Helpline was related to retirement planning, and in total, over 60% of employee interactions involved discussions surrounding long-term planning issues. This gives us the impression that employees are beginning to regain confidence in their overall financial picture.

Download this document.

Posted in Featured Research, Research | Tagged , , , , , |

Charging for Cost of Retirement Education. Can We Do it? Is it Worth It?

Q: Can we charge the cost of retirement education to the plan and what are the pros and cons of doing so?

Download this document.

Posted in Best Practices, Managing Retirement Plans | Tagged , |

Benefits Planning Brief

What is Benefits Planning?

Traditional benefits communication is like giving new technology, such as a computer, to an employee and handing them an owner’s manual. Some employees will read the manual cover to cover and be able to train themselves on how to use it, but most will never fully understand or fully utilize the technology. Just like with training on a new computer, employees need training on their benefits. Employees are often unsure which benefits are best for them, which options they should select, how to enroll, and how to apply them to their lives. Unlike traditional benefits communication which simply provides resources to employees to inform them of what benefits are available, benefits planning makes benefits tangible by teaching employees how to manage their benefits in a way that builds wealth and helps them reach financial goals.

Download this document.

Posted in Managing Employee Benefits |

How to Measure ROI of Your Financial Education Programs

One of the most common questions we receive from HR managers is how to measure the return on investment (ROI), or the success, of their financial education programs.

Download this document.

Posted in Financial Education |

Best Practices for Educating Younger Employees About Retirement

Today, most companies are focusing retirement planning efforts on the Baby Boomer generation out of necessity. However, more proactive firms are beginning to take notice of Generations X and Y, understanding that getting these employees to start saving for retirement now will ward off a retirement crisis later.

Download this document.

Posted in Financial Education |

Educating Your Pre-Retirees

As Baby Boomers prepare for retirement, companies are scrambling to provide resources to ensure their comfortable retirement.

Download this document.

Posted in Financial Education |

Financial Helpline: A Growing Employee Benefit

We live in a world where employees’ financial issues can have a huge impact on their company, and vice versa. Where there was once a separation between employees and employers, now the fates of their finances are inextricably linked.

Download this document.

Posted in Financial Education |

How to Increase Pay Satisfaction With Financial Education Programs

According to CareerBuilder, 27 percent of job leavers cite compensation and career advancement reasons, making this the principal factor affecting employee turnover.

Download this document.

Posted in Managing Employee Benefits |

How a 529 Plan Helps Employees Save Money

Since the early 1980s, college education costs have been rising at double the rate of inflation. It is no wonder that almost 50 percent of parents with children under age 18 indicate their number one financial goal is to ensure their children go to college.

Download this document.

Posted in Managing Employee Benefits |

Retirement Readiness Programs For Employees Close to Retirement

A recent USA Today study on retirement preparedness, it was reported that, on average, an American aged 50 to 59 has just over $54,000 saved in a retirement plan at work. Financial planners recommend having at least $1 million to retire comfortably-or more-depending on your lifestyle.

Download this document.

Posted in Managing Retirement Plans |

The Retirement Education Revolution: What It Means for You and Your Clients

Today, as the boomer generation hits their 60s, they are redefining the retirement landscape as well. Once considered a passive time when you stopped working and relaxed, “retirement” for this generation means living longer and pursuing more active lifestyles than ever before.

Download this document.

Posted in Managing Retirement Plans |

Behind the Numbers: The Retirement Revolution

A quiet revolution is going on in the retirement planning industry. As a financial education company working directly with pre-retirees and retirees, we at Financial Finesse see evidence of it every day in the faces and questions of Baby Boomers who are preparing for a transition that is both exciting and terrifying, in numbers unheard of before. Increasingly, the questions are not financial. They are personal.

Download this document.

Posted in Managing Retirement Plans |

Helping Employees Understand the Pros, Cons of Hardship Withdrawals

Some companies offer hardship withdrawals in lieu of loans against the retirement plan. Typically, the withdrawal is processed after the employee requests it with no questions asked. So, how can education be used as a gatekeeper and to help employees become aware of the pitfalls and their alternatives?

Download this document.

Posted in Managing Retirement Plans |

Tips to Increase Participation Among Lower-Compensated Employees

If your company failed retirement plan discrimination testing, or you are concerned that you will, here are some ideas for targeting lower-compensated employees to increase participation…

Download this document.

Posted in Managing Retirement Plans |

Using Financial Education To Increase 401(k) Participation

Sometimes, the biggest barrier to plan participation is lack of knowledge. For employees that have little or no experience investing, a 401(k) plan can be very intimidating. One of the most effective ways of increasing plan participation is to ensure your employees receive adequate financial education about your plan.

Download this document.

Posted in Managing Retirement Plans |

Responding to Requests for 401(k) Loans Without Providing Advice

Many employers are faced with this dilemma as employees use their 401(k) funds to pay down debts, purchase a home, or cover medical expenses. Offering a loan provision in your retirement plan is an important feature that provides employees access to their money when they need it.

Download this document.

Posted in Managing Retirement Plans |

Using a Plan Provider or Financial Education Firm for Retirement Preparedness Programs

Q: When should we use a plan provider vs. a financial education firm for retirement preparedness programs?

The general best practice is to use an independent financial education firm (using plan funds if your team has concerns about adding to the HR budget) for two key reasons…

Download this document.

Posted in Best Practices, Managing Retirement Plans | Tagged , , |

Industry Insights: M. A. Mortenson Company’s Successful Retirement Education Program

Annette Grabow, Manager of Retirement Benefits at M. A. Mortenson Company, built a retirement education program literally from scratch. When she came to M. A. Mortenson Company over 26 years ago, she’d never managed a company’s retirement plan.
Continue reading this post …

Posted in Case Studies |

Trends in Employee Financial Issues: Q2 2010

In Q2 2010, we saw an increase in financial stress among employees, but rather than retreating in denial, employees seem to have taken this as a wake‐up call and are motivated to action. As a result, they are taking control—becoming more proactive with retirement planning as well as other longer term issues and making improvements to their overall financial situation.

Download this document.

Posted in Featured Research, Research |

Trends in Employee Financial Issues: Q1 2010

So far 2010 is shaping up to be a step in the right direction, with consumers becoming more proactive about long-term financial planning and continuing to show improvements in managing their expenses and their debts. This is a continuation of the trend we saw last year, of consumers regrouping and rebuilding their financial foundations in response to the recession.

Download this document.

Posted in Research |

CASE STUDY: Aetna’s Award Winning Financial Wellness Program

Aetna wanted to create a wellness program that would promote the total well-being of their employees on all levels. The company had already begun to implement a successful physical wellness program and felt the program needed a component to address and improve employees’ financial wellness as well. Understanding that financial concerns are one of the top causes of stress and that stress can result in a number of different health issues, they needed to take their wellness program to a whole new level. But the next question was how to do it.
Continue reading this post …

Posted in Case Studies |

Research on the Gender Gap in Financial Literacy

43% of calls from women were regarding debt, with half of those relating to strategies to reduce debt. (36% of calls from men were regarding debt).
Continue reading this post …

Posted in Featured Research, Research |

Connect with us: