Let’s cut to the chase: Financial wellness is not inclusive in America but can be at your company.
Right now, five times as many women as men live paycheck to paycheck. Meanwhile, only 31% of working Hispanic households participate in a retirement account vs. 51% of white households. And Black college grads owe $25,000 more (on average) in student loan debt than white college graduates.
If you’re thinking, “That’s not fair,” you’d be correct.
Data and personal stories continually show us that underrepresented populations don’t have the same experiences when it comes to paying for education, building wealth, and saving for retirement. But as an employer, you have the opportunity — and the power — to level the playing field by offering inclusive financial wellness.
While there are countless ways financial wellness can support DEI efforts, here are our three of our favorites.
#1. Improves mental well-being for all
Studies show that nearly all of your employees stress about money. (Nine out of 10, in fact.) And certain groups of employees are even more at risk for financial distress. Latino and Black adults were more likely to report experiencing financial stress. Financially stressed Black adults report higher rates of depression. Financial stress is also common for LGBTQ Americans.
What can be done? Employees with access to wellness programs at work have lower stress, according to a survey of more than 3 million workers. And by offering a wellness program that targets people’s biggest stressors, you remove one of the disparate impacts for underrepresented groups while improving the mental health of all employees.
#2. Bridges the financial literacy gap
Focusing on short-term diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives to show that you care can be tempting, but it’s not enough. It’s the long-term initiatives that show real commitment and make a real difference. Offering financial wellness programs like coaching is one such benefit because, unfortunately, financial literacy is highly disparate.
- Only 16% of women feel very knowledgeable about investment considerations for retirement planning vs. 31% of men.
- Black Americans answered, on average, only 38% of personal financial literacy questions correctly, lagging behind the performance of white Americans.
Do you want to show you’re committed to DEI? Then ensure that all employees know how to make their money work for them. When you help employees understand their finances, uncover the root causes of financial stress, and plan for the future, you change their lives — and those of their families.
#3. Boosts financial wellness benefit participation
Even when you offer financial wellness programs, your employees might not take advantage, especially if they don’t see themselves in your offerings. Among employees who mostly feel unrepresented in their company’s financial wellness benefits messaging, fewer than half (46%) use the benefits. Compare that with 74% of employees who use the benefits and do feel represented in communications.
You have a major opportunity to fix that problem. Of those employees who don’t always see themselves in your messaging, 93% would be more likely to use financial wellness benefits if the information were personalized to their background or circumstances. There are real rewards — in more ways than one — when your benefits communication represents your underrepresented employees.
Our tip? Partner with your organization’s DEI leader to present benefit options so your employees can actually benefit.
When you’re ready to bolster your DEI efforts, Questis will be here. We help uncover the root causes of your workforce’s financial stress — and fix It — so you can put your focus where it’s needed most. Create a workplace where all your employees love where they work.