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Every so often, a round peg comes along when you have a round hole. Many employees are stressed about their personal finances. It distracts them at work. A study by PWC indicated 74% of employees seek financial guidance. Aha! We have found a round hole. Put another way, there is a need. Another study by PNC revealed 80% of employees surveyed would stick with an employer providing financial wellness benefits. A 2021 study found only 24% of employers are meeting this need. This is a benefit employers can provide that can make a positive impact in plenty of areas.

  1. Raise awareness. Let us assume you or your benefits provider has surveyed your employees to determine if a need exists. The answer you got back was a resounding yes. You might have some tools around no one seems to know about. You also decide to bring in some new tools. Let your employees know help is on the way.
  2. Segment your audience. The first issue will be determining who wants to learn and doesn't care who knows it and who wants everything done in private. You also want to learn how much demand there is for remote education (online) and who wants a face to face relationship.
  3. Address the needs of your online audience. Your benefits provider might have a series of short educational videos. They should also have some online tools. If not, you should be able to arrange for an outside provider to make this service available. This will be a balancing act: On one hand, you want them to know their data is private. Their employer will not be looking over their shoulder. They also need to know their data is safe. No one will be using it for marketing purposes.
  4. Gather online talking heads. Your provider might offer live webinars with a chat feature. These cannot be viewed anytime, but they allow employees to ask anonymous questions and get answers.
  5. Consider live classes. These might be delivered by a college professor. You do some outside research and determine who has a program addressing the different aspects of financial planning for the general public. They might take place onsite or after hours at the college. You might film them and make the videos available afterwards.
  6. Offer advice over the phone. Some employees will want to talk with a live person. They want this relationship to be separate from their employer. Firms like Vanguard and Schwab provide this service, although they will likely want the employee to establish an investment account with them. The firm might be able to make an arrangement where the cost of a few initial conversations will be borne by their employer.
  7. Financial planning advice. There are many ways the industry charges for investment advice. In some cases, it is on a transactional basis. Advice is free, but the products come at a cost. Another platform is asset-based pricing. The client pays a fee based on the assets under management. Advice is included under this arrangement. Financial planning can also be purchased as a stand-alone product. These are provided by "fee only" financial planners. The plan they deliver is portable. This might cost $1,000-3000. The firm might be able to arrange for group pricing or cover part of the cost.
  8. Personal financial advisor. Are your employee benefits provided by a firm owned by a bank? They often have financial advisors working onsite in bank branches. They have dedicated brokerage offices too. The area of the firm providing benefits might be able to talk with the area of the firm providing investment advice, referring the employee to a specific financial advisor. Although initial consultations might be free, the advisor will expect an account to be eventually opened, establishing an ongoing relationship.
  9. Senior executive retirement planning. At the other end of the spectrum, the compensation for C-suite executives can often include services like retirement planning. A year or two in advance, the executive might be connected with a consultant, paid for by their employer. They are paid to deliver financial planning advice, not to earn commissions on products they sell. Many consulting firms might offer this service. It keeps executives focused on their primary role.

Related: Beyond the 401(k): Financial wellness offerings are a 'must-have' for employees

There are different ways of providing financial wellness education. Pricing is often based on the level of engagement and the complexity of the service delivered.

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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.”