Financial wellness is something that is important for all individuals, but not something that is always taught or talked about. According to retireguide.com, financial wellness is defined as “a state of being in which you can meet current and future financial obligations, feel secure in your financial future, and make choices that let you enjoy life.”
Tom Rath and Jim Harter, who are leaders in the workplace wellbeing research at Gallup, say that the four ways to ensure financial wellness are by keeping spending within one’s means, being financially prepared for emergencies, having access to the information and tools necessary to make good financial decisions, and having a plan for the future.
These are part of the support and general financial information the Work-Life team at Workplace Options provides for clients.
“The same way that you make sure your body is healthy, you have to make sure that your financial stability is healthy as well,” Bianca Buie, Financial Team Lead for Workplace Options, said. “So, that means making sure you understand what your money can do for you, how you’re supposed to manage your money, and how you can make the best of it.”
Buie said that financial wellness can look different for everyone, and that members reach out with various concerns about their finances.
“Some people say, ‘I just want to make sure I’m not living paycheck to paycheck.’ Others say, ‘I want to make sure that my savings account has six months’ worth of my income in it.’ So, it looks a bit different for everyone,” Buie said. She continued to explain that each individual is on a different financial journey.
Some of the services that Buie and others on the team at Workplace Options provide help with are student loan payments, credit card debt management, budgeting, mortgages, insurance, and overall managing finances in the most effective way possible.
Financial wellness plays a part in good mental health and personal interrelationships. According to a study done by a team at the National Library of Medicine, financial problems are the fifth most common cause for divorce in the United States, and a huge cause of stress for many individuals.
“Money is the number one stressor for a lot of people. There are some people who are struggling to pay bills, who have to make the decision between getting gas to make it to work or buying groceries. Eventually, that stress starts affecting your work, because you’re worried about those things in your everyday life,” Buie said.
Buie continued by saying that oftentimes the feedback that she receives from members after using the financial support in some cases helped save their marriage. Many members also report feeling in a better state mentally and emotionally after they’ve learned how to budget and manage their finances effectively.
Buie said that during Financial Literacy Month, which takes place in the month of April, the Financial Team provides the company with financial tools, information, resources, and general information meetings to help employees inside the organization feel as financially stable as possible.
“We talk about budgeting, give them tip sheets and excel spreadsheets to utilize. We make sure that we’re also sharing the wealth between our clients’ members and our own employees,” Buie said.
When employees feel financially stable, they are more likely to perform better in the workplace. Relieving the burden that finances put on an individual and giving them access to financial support and resources is an effective way of supporting employees and putting them on the right path to financial wellness.