Ways to design a financial wellbeing strategy that works for different age groups
Money habits are formed by the age of seven which means that for many of the UK population, money management and financial planning has been taught by parents, carers and family friends. The problem is that this creates a cycle where parents with a good financial understanding pass on good financial knowledge and people with limited financial insight leave younger generations with gaps in their understanding. So if the way we think about money is subjective and how we save, approach investments and plan for our financial futures is learned behaviour, workplace financial education programmes should aim to equip employees with the knowledge and tools they need to make more informed financial decisions.
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A workforce that understand how to manage their money is a workforce that can overcome any unexpected expenditure and are therefore more financially resilient. But how then can you ensure that your financial wellbeing strategy reflects what employees actually need to know?
Driven by employee feedback
It sounds simple but making sure that your financial wellbeing programme is driven from the feedback of your population will ensure that the content is relevant and appropriate to your audience, and in our experience, there will also be a higher level of engagement with the initiative.
Starting a financial wellbeing programme with a foundation session, touching on aspects of the financial journey from birth to death will mean that employees can then decide where they might need further information. Financial education should empower employees to take stock of their current situation and work out what their goals are so that they can implement practical steps to get there – let your employees tell you what is on their mind and build your financial wellbeing programme based on what they would like to hear.
Delivering financial education, particularly during a global pandemic, can be challenging. Access to knowledge and tools to better manage finances at the right moment in time is crucial, which can mean varying methods of delivery. Typically, group webinar sessions are an excellent way to provide useful hints and tips to take away and make changes to spending and money management habits. Interactive digital sessions also provide an excellent environment to sign-post when employees might need to seek further, more specific guidance. On demand digital content which can be accessed as and when the information is relevant equips employees to make better financial decisions. One-to-one consultations including video-conferencing ensures that employees can access information specific to their circumstances when the time is right. Providing different methods of delivery is essential when making sure that your financial wellbeing strategy is accessible to different demographics.
Key annual events
Much of wellbeing is underpinned by financial stability, with a recent study from Money and Mental Health Policy Institute highlighting that up to 25% of the UK workforce are experiencing financial instability and, of that population, 66% have as a result experienced at least one sign of poor mental health. Linking financial wellbeing to other wellbeing and employee benefits initiatives throughout the year means that employees can make informed financial decisions. Benefits ‘flex’ windows are a great opportunity to provide financial education to provide key information so that employees can better understand the choice of benefits they have access to in relation to their wider financial plans outside of work. Employees therefore understand how good financial wellbeing can improve health and their overall wellbeing, encouraging people to prioritise their financial health.
Although key financial life milestones including saving for a house deposit, saving for children, planning for retirement, should drive targeted financial education sessions, it is important to not overlook the basics of money management and savings sessions for all employees, encouraging changes to learned habits which in turn promote financial resilience. Targeted content tends to also work well by separating demographics as groups of employees may be effected by similar financial situations.
Providing sessions such as ‘10 years to retirement’ tends to attract later career employees whilst ‘how to build a million pound pension pot’ typically appeals to a younger demographic. Providing targeted financial education sessions which relate to a specific demographic is a great way to ensure that employees have access to the information that they are likely to need at the right moment in time.
Financial wellbeing strategies should therefore be holistic and aim to provide jargon-free education and guidance with access to financial advice, where necessary, to create an environment where employees can learn and ultimately take ownership of their finances. Financial resilience means a change from reactively managing finances to taking a more proactive approach. Financial education needs to cut to the root cause and look to address how people manage their finances to encourage a shift from unplanned and unmanaged finances to proactive financial planning and better financial wellbeing.
This article is provided by AAG Financial Education.
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