Everyone needs to save money. According to CNBC, 63% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. That might be OK if people never stopped working or had a financial emergency. We know that's not how life works. Here are eight ways managers and business owners educate – and encourage – employees to save:

  1. Employer-sponsored retirement plans. The company likely has a 401(k) plan. Not only can the employee save through pretax contributions via payroll deduction, but the firm also matches their annual contributions to some extent. There are rules and they vary from employer to employer, but not taking advantage of the firm's 401(k) program is like leaving money on the table.
  2. Company stock purchase plan. Your firm might be a publicly traded company. Employees have the option to buy shares through a monthly payroll deduction program. The advantage to the employee is they are buying those shares at a discount to the current market value. The discount might be 15%. Unlike the 401(k) which might have vesting rules and has tax consequences, the employee might be able to take possession of the stock on a quarterly basis. They can sell the shares immediately if they choose.
  3. Investing from a tax refund check. About 75% of Americans get Federal tax refunds. This means your employees are getting some of their own money back. This is a tidy sum that can be stashed away as savings or put to work in investments. Saving money can help get employees closer to the goal of home ownership.
  4. How will you use your annual bonus? Some companies compensate employees through a structure that includes a salary plus a bonus. This is another lump sum, similar to your tax refund check. Some people might use it for debt reduction, others might apply the money towards investments or savings.
  5. Are your salespeople compensated on commission? This is a popular model in many industries. Sales can be cyclical. One of the biggest mistakes salespeople can make is assuming a few months of bigger checks represents the "new normal."  Often that is not the case. Try to live on a certain amount and save the excess.
  6. Do the employee's children have college savings accounts? Now we are getting into the area of personal finances. Some might consider it intrusive, others see it as helpful advice. Putting money aside for future education bills makes sense because the child's tax bracket should be lower than the parent's. In my opinion, the most important factor is the parents can channel financial help from the extended family into those college savings accounts.
  7. Do the employees have health savings accounts? Medical care today often comes with strings attached. There are copays. Some costs might not be covered. Health savings accounts (HSAs) are a vehicle designed to let people set money aside for these future costs. This might be a good savings vehicle for employees in certain situations.
  8. Can your employees buy insurance products like annuities through a program offered by their employer? Some employers might make annuities available to employees as a benefit. Teachers might be a good example. This could be another way to save. If you take money "off the top," meaning you don't see it in your take home pay packet, it can be easier to save.
  9. Dollar cost averaging. This is an investment strategy the employee can use outside of the firm. They enter into a program with a financial services firm where they put a certain amount away every month. It can build up savings in small monthly increments.

Related: 39% of workers have less than $1,000 in savings (or no savings at all)

Saving doesn't need to be difficult. It can be easier if employees take advantage of programs already on offer.


Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, "Captivating the Wealthy Investor" is available on Amazon.

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Bryce Sanders

Bryce Sanders, president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc., has provided training for the financial services industry on high-net-worth client acquisition since 2001. He trains financial professionals on how to identify prospects within the wealthiest 2%-5% of their market, where to meet and socialize with them, how to talk with wealthy people and develop personal relationships, and how to transform wealthy friends into clients. Bryce spent 14 years with a major financial services firm as a successful financial advisor, two years as a district sales manager and four years as a home office manager. He developed personal relationships within the HNW community through his past involvement as a Trustee of the James A. Michener Art Museum, Board of Associates for the Bucks County Chapter of the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Board of Trustees for Stevens Institute of Technology and as a church lector. Bryce has been published in American City Business Journals, Barrons, InsuranceNewsNet, BenefitsPro, The Register, MDRT Round the Table, MDRT Blog, accountingweb.com, Advisorpedia and Horsesmouth.com. In Canada, his articles have appeared in Wealth Professional. He is the author of the book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor.”