Financial education at work – works!
With a bit of budgeting know-how and support from trusted sources, plan members can make their financial dreams a reality.
As we enter the final months of what has been one of the most financially challenging years for Canadians, we know that employees are struggling. They are facing higher mortgage and rent payments, trying to find ways to save on groceries and manage their debts. They are open to, and in need of, support on how they can manage their day-to-day expenses and still reach their dreams of a winter vacation – and retirement!
Lifelong learning and support through access to trusted sources of information is critical to helping all Canadians achieve financial security. As an employer, providing access to accurate, unbiased information is among the simplest steps to help employees manage their finances so they can bring their best selves to work.
Get a handle on the money – and make it fun
Preparing a budget – and following it – is something that many generations were raised with. You knew how much income you had, you did your budget and what was left over you either put toward savings or something “extra” that was either needed or wanted. In a relatively short time, that approach has changed. For many Canadians, the automatic impulse is to buy now and figure out how to pay for it later. This approach leaves many Canadians without a “rainy day” fund for life’s emergencies so they are forced to rely on credit. This can lead to a debt cycle that can be near impossible to get out of.
To start on the journey to financial wellness, employees have to learn the basics of financial planning. This includes understanding how much money they are earning and what they are spending on – a budget. While budgeting is often perceived with a negative connotation, it is possible to make it simple and, yes, even fun! Teaching employees how to create a budget can bring some real insights and improvements to their financial position. Realizing the impact of too many lunches out, or that recurring charge on their credit card, is often all the motivation someone needs to stop spending what they don’t have and work toward achieving their goals.
But how do you make it fun? Some of the best money saving insights can come from colleagues. Most people, especially today, have come up with ways to save money. Sharing those tips among colleagues and adding a challenge (“best” tip, biggest savings goals achieved, etc.) can inspire and motivate colleagues to implement some money saving tips and perhaps even start that budget!
Make room to dream
In the current economic climate, it can be easy to get discouraged. Debt payments are high, there is talk of recession and prices are difficult to stomach. Research shows us the employees who are struggling with their finances do not bring their best selves to work. Focusing on the next bill payment instead of the task at hand, or in the worst-case scenario, taking time away from work to manage physical and mental illness, has a significant impact on the bottom line. Helping your employees become financially confident through financial literacy and other supports, can help buffer that impact on the bottom line.
Whether a short-term dream like a winter vacation or a long-term goal like retirement, allowing room to dream is especially important. Helping employees to plan for their goals and dreams is a great way to motivate them, not only to do a good job, but to gain control of their finances. Making retirement planning less daunting by layering in an understanding of compound interest and other sources of available income like the Canada/Quebec Pension Plan (CPP/QPP) and Old Age Security (OAS) can ensure your employees will be well equipped to set realistic goals and feel empowered to achieve them.
Support life-long learning
As we write this article, it’s financial literacy month in Canada. The average Canadian is responsible for making a host of financial decisions about their workplace pensions, and personal savings plans, as well as their financial obligations. It can be overwhelming. If you don’t have the resources to develop your own initiatives, or the budget to work with an external financial wellness consultant, there are some great free resources from trusted sources that can help bridge the gap until you do:
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation – Tools, information, and tips on buying, owning, and renting a home.
Financial Consumer Agency of Canada – Information and resources to help Canadian consumers better understand financial products and services.
Chartered Professional Accountants Canada – Educational resources to improve financial literacy in Canada.
Credit Counselling Society – A Canadian non-profit organization dedicated to providing free credit counselling, low-cost debt solutions, and education to help people manage their money better.
Financial education at work – works!
Lifelong learning and support through access to accurate, unbiased information is critical to helping all Canadians achieve financial security. Unlike commission-based advisors, who are motivated to sell financial products, as an employer, and a trusted source of information, the role that you play in supporting employees throughout their entire financial wellness journey is a pivotal one. And it works.
Last year, Eckler delivered financial education to more than 16,000 Canadians through workplace programs. Employees told us education delivered by a financial wellness consultant:
- Reduced their financial stress
- Empowered them to change their financial situation
- Gave them better understanding of financial planning concepts
From new hire to retiree, leveraging your trusted relationship to support more informed financial decisions is good for employees – and for their employers.
We hope you have enjoyed our 2023 series of GO with Eckler and that we have succeeded in providing some good information along the way. Wishing you a joyous and healthy holiday season.
GO with Eckler
Engaging insights about financial wellness in the workplace.
GO with Eckler is a quarterly newsletter to help employers and plan sponsors support financial wellness for their employees and plan members.
Please contact your Eckler consultant if you would like to learn more about supporting finances.