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Top 3 Financial Wellness Benefits to Ask About at Work

In the past few years of low unemployment and lots of job openings, more companies are trying to attract employees by offering better wages and benefits. But along with traditional employee benefits like health insurance and 401(k) plans, some employers are starting to offer a more comprehensive package of financial wellness benefits.

These financial wellness benefits are intended to help people take care of a wider range of money challenges, so employees can relieve their financial worries and stay focused and happy at work. When employees don’t have to worry about money problems, they can give their best effort on the job. Financial wellness benefits can be a win-win for companies and employees.

If you’re starting a new job this year, or if you want to get the most out of your employee benefits package, here are a few financial wellness benefits that your company might offer.

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1. Financial advice and coaching

Do you want to see if you’re on track for retirement, need advice about your investment portfolio, or have questions about budgeting, saving money, or improving your credit? Some companies are now offering free financial advice as part of a financial wellness benefits package. These benefits could include:

  • Access to credit counseling and debt management, or referrals from an Employee Assistance Program.
  • Annual sessions with a financial advisor to review your investment portfolio and retirement savings plan.
  • Ongoing financial coaching for a wide range of questions about your personal finances.

Financial Finesse is one example of a company that partners with employers to offer free financial coaching to employees. Other employers might connect you with local financial planners or advisors. These financial advice sessions could be free or discounted, depending on your employer.

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2. Emergency savings accounts

Many companies offer 401(k) plans to help employees save for retirement. The 401(k) can be a great way to boost your retirement investments, because you automatically put money into it with every paycheck. But what if you could build your emergency fund in the same way? That’s the idea behind employer-sponsored emergency savings accounts (ESAs).

In recent years, there’s been growing awareness among employers about just how little cash savings so many Americans have. A recent survey from SecureSave (a company that provides ESA plans for employers) found that 63% of American employees don’t have $500 to cover an emergency expense. Ask if your company has an emergency savings account option to help employees save cash for emergencies.

If you can save automatically, with payroll deductions out of every paycheck, this can be a powerful way to build your savings without even noticing the money “missing” from your checking account. If you have enough cash to cover car trouble, home repairs, or out-of-pocket medical costs, you’ll be less stressed and more able to give your best effort on the job.

3. Flexible paydays

Sometimes it can be helpful to get paid early. This is especially important for employees who get hit with unexpected expenses, are living paycheck to paycheck, or otherwise don’t have enough cash to make it to the end of the month. Gig workers and shift workers can also benefit from getting paid on a more flexible schedule.

Instead of a rigid schedule for monthly or every-two-weeks paydays, some employers are now offering flexible paydays, also called “on-demand pay” or earned wage access (EWA) programs. This financial wellness benefit lets people choose to get paid before payday.

But it’s not a payday loan! With flexible paydays or on-demand pay, you still get the full amount of paycheck that you’ve earned, but you can get it earlier, and on your own terms. Flexible paydays can help improve your cash flow and avoid missed bill payments, late fees, and other stressful financial problems.

There are several benefits providers that help employers set up programs for flexible paydays or on-demand pay. If your employer offers these benefits, here are a few company names to watch for in your employee benefits information:

  • Clair: This fintech company offers online banking services with on-demand pay for shift workers and other employees. You can get up to 50% of your gross pay in advance, before payday, with no fees.
  • Paychex: This payroll service can provide on-demand pay as part of an employer’s payroll program, depending on what the employer chooses to offer.
  • Paylocity: Paylocity is an HR and payroll platform that helps employers manage paydays and employee benefits. It offers flexible pay capabilities as part of its payroll services.

Not all employers offer flexible pay, and not every on-demand payday program will have the same details. Some of these programs might charge you a fee, depending on what your employer chooses to offer. But if you’re in a cash crunch, or if you just want more control over when you get paid, flexible paydays can be a valuable financial wellness benefit.

Bottom line: These are just a few of the financial wellness benefits that your employer might offer in 2024. Ask at work to see what your options are to get extra help with saving, investing, paying off debt, and improving your personal finances beyond your paycheck.

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