At the IFW we receive a lot of queries about Workplace Financial Wellbeing. Charlie Goodman, a Board member at the Institute for Financial Wellbeing and head of the IFW’s Workplace Financial Wellbeing offering, has written a 4-part article on this topic.
As mentioned in the last two articles, there are four subcategories of workplace financial wellbeing solutions: financial products, financial platforms, financial education, and financial coaching.
Last time I talked about financial products.
The next subcategory covers the technology platforms that typically combine elements of open banking, various tools and calculators, knowledge articles, nudge notifications and other elements to prompt people to engage with goals and learn more about their money.
These platforms, like a flexible benefits or social platform, need some human input and communication plans to ensure that people remain engaged with them past the initial excitement. Where I’ve run these, we’ve put in place a structured plan to have human touch points to keep people engaged.
I think they have a bright future as the technology becomes more adaptive, particularly when workplace pension providers properly allow them to show employees real-time pension information – but that’s probably a few years off.
Many of these platforms now offer access to coaches and financial advisers through the platform, which may cost the employer or the employee extra. Some utilise the pension advice allowance to cover these.
The platforms themselves don’t tend to be cheap.
Typically they encourage the setting up of pensions salary sacrifice for organisations that don’t have it in place. The saving from Employer National Insurance Contributions can be used to offset the cost.
Considering how many employers still aren’t offering this tax efficient method, this in itself is a positive thing to promote.
Opportunities to increase knowledge
Financial education in the workplace has existed in one form or another for several decades. Employers tend to provide one-off sessions on things such as pension saving or budgeting, or sometimes go for a series of sessions covering starting work, mid-career MOT and preparing for retirement.
They focus on generic education and guidance around understanding concepts like investing, paying off debt and retirement income choices.
Most last an hour with time for questions at the end or varying levels of interactivity.
Many of the banks, wealth managers, and IFAs will offer these sessions for free or below cost, on the basis they hope for potential individual sales to the employee base.
Lots of pension providers offer generic free courses or bespoke ones to large enough clients, as well as providing content and funding for the industry’s annual Pension Awareness Week sessions, which aim to highlight the importance of pension saving by providing free educational events, webinars and clinics to the public and employers.
In the final article in this series focused on workplace financial wellbeing, I’ll talk about the position of financial coaching in the workplace and the future of workplace financial wellbeing.
Currently a Partner at the Employee Benefits Collective LLP, Charlie Goodman specialises in financial wellbeing in the workplace. He is a qualified IFA, Financial Coach, and Reward Specialist.
At 9am on Thursday 15th December 2022, Charlie joined Lorraine McFall to talk about Workplace Financial Wellbeing at the monthly online Forum for Coaches & Planners. Look out for future events like this.