The Hottest Perk of the Pandemic? Financial Wellness Tools

In the midst of the Great Resignation, with employers scrambling for ways to hang on to experienced staff, financial wellness programs might be an attractive addition to the benefits bag.

That was a key finding from PwC’s annual Employee Financial Wellness Survey, which was conducted in January 2021 and released in April. Among those polled, 72 percent of workers who reported facing increased financial setbacks during the pandemic said they would be more attracted to another company that cared more about financial well-being than their current employer. About 57 percent of workers who hadn’t yet faced increased financial stress said the same thing.

Financial stress doesn’t just affect worker retention; it also has an impact on productivity. PwC’s survey showed that 45 percent of workers experiencing financial setbacks have been distracted at work by their money problems. The menu of financial wellness tools employers might elect include educational tools for personal finances, one-on-one financial coaching, and even access to rainy day funds.

It’s a growing business sector, too. HoneyBee, a B2B financial wellness startup, recently closed a round of funding with $5.7 million in equity, TechCrunch reported. The financial technology company grew 225 percent during the pandemic and saw a 175 percent increase in usage for its on-demand financial therapy tools. Origin also recently announced that it raised $56 million in its Series B funding round, which it will use for customer expansion, as it saw increased demand for financial planning services during the pandemic, Business Wire notes.

Although one in five workers waits until they experience a financial setback to seek guidance, when they are offered continual support, employees are more likely to be proactive with their finances. According to the PwC survey, 88 percent of workers who are provided financial wellness services by their employers take advantage of them.

By Rebecca Deczynski, Staff reporter, Inc.@rebecca_decz

Source: The Hottest Perk of the Pandemic? Financial Wellness Tools | Inc.com

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Critics:

Making money is definitely the cornerstone of financial wellness and increasing your income can help you obtain your goals. You do not need to be a millionaire, but it’s important to obtain some level of income stability. Being financially well starts with having a reliable income and knowing at a consistent time, you will expect to be paid a certain amount. Steady and reliable income is one of the cornerstones of financial wellness.

Even if you don’t like budgeting or planning, it’s good to set goals for yourself. You are more likely to stick with it when you have goals to reach and can see progress. By creating a plan, you are visualizing the what, why, and how you will get there. If you don’t already have a household budget, grab your most recent bank statement and look at the total amount of money you have coming into your household each month. Then, factor in fixed, required expenses – things like rent or mortgage payments, utilities, insurance, and more.

f you do not have an emergency fund, now is the time to start building it. The goal of an emergency fund is to have available funds for when you are dealing with unemployment or you have an unforeseen cost. You won’t stress about the money because you have a nice cash reserve that you can access quickly. Finance experts often say that you should have at least three to six months’ worth of expenses in your emergency fund. If you have nothing in savings, putting away just $25, $50, or $100 a month is an amazing start. Ultimately, it’s what you feel comfortable with. You can also consider putting it in a high savings investment such as CIT Bank’s Savings Builder, which helps put your savings to work with very little risk.

Once you get a handle on your finances, you can start to map out life events and large purchases, so you can begin saving! Planning ahead is always helpful, and once you get a handle on your current financial plan, set some goals for what comes next. By building a plan, you have a road map to help guide you through the rest of your story. Putting even a small amount into savings on a consistent basis is one of the best ways to get your savings to grow so you can meet your goals, small or large. Set your own personal savings rule to live by and make a plan on how to achieve it. Prepare for life events and large purchases by planning ahead.

Your credit score is another critical part of your financial health. Things like late payments, too much debt or high balances negatively affect your credit score. Keep watch over your credit report and credit score with a free credit report from places like Credit Karma. A higher credit score tells banks and lenders that you’re a reliable and less risky borrower. 

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Ever Felt Jealous of a Friend’s Achievement? Here’s How to Get Around It – Tim Herrera

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Tell me if this sounds familiar: Back in high school, a classmate you didn’t really know beat your score on an important test. Big deal, who cares.

But on that same test, your best friend beat your score. You’re happy for your friend, but for some indefinable reason, you’re also a little bitter that you were outscored, and then you felt guilty for being resentful over your friend’s success.

It’s O.K., you’re not a bad person. Our brains are programmed to feel that confusing mix of pride and jealousy, and we have the self-evaluation maintenance theory to thank.

This phenomenon was first studied by the social psychologist Abraham Tesser, who, in a 1988 study, wrote that our self-evaluation is threatened far more by loved ones who excel in areas we define ourselves by — like our work or a particular skill — than by strangers who excel in the exact same way. We instinctively compare ourselves more to people who are close to us, even though, paradoxically, it can engender bitterness.

In fact, our brains are so bent on those comparisons that in one experiment, subjects actively sabotaged their friends from succeeding.

The worst part? They weren’t even aware they were doing it.

What’s happening is this: When someone we love is successful at something we also want to be successful at, our brains subconsciously sets up a battle — fueled by our instincts for self-interest — between pride and jealousy, Shankar Vedantam writes in his fascinating book “The Hidden Brain.” We’re generally unable to say why we have these feelings, but nonetheless they are very real.

So what can we do?

Like many behaviors attributable to our subconscious, we can’t correct something we can’t see. But there are ways to head off these feelings before they happen, and you can train yourself to recognize the symptoms when you exhibit them.

When those feelings of jealousy begin to set in, instead of framing a friend’s achievement as something you could have done but didn’t, try to find the complementary aspects of their achievement to discourage the implicit comparison, Vedantam writes.

Say, for example, your best friend earns an award in your shared field. Rather than ask yourself, “Why didn’t I win that award?” find the ways your friend’s work is different from the things you do and the goals you have set for yourself. Embrace the prideful side of this coin, and celebrate your friend’s accomplishment — studies have shown that a loved one’s accomplishment can even rub off on you, increasing your own self-evaluation.

More important, just remember this: Someone else’s success doesn’t detract from yours. Even if you haven’t won that award. (Yet.)

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