Financial wellbeing is in danger of being dismissed as just another label which fails to describe accurately what it seeks to achieve.
Especially, it seems, when it comes to more experienced employees. Our latest survey of HR professionals across the UK found most overlooked the possibility that older colleagues may be grappling with their financial health.
People in this category are obviously central to our pensions and retirement business but for employers, understanding how the concept of financial wellbeing applies to them may be less clear.
Our new financial wellbeing box set has been created for employers to help their people make the right decisions, whatever age and stage they are at in their lives and careers.
From understanding tax and buying a home to savings and pensions, the series covers not only the major milestones many of us face but does so in pragmatic, clear fashion. Informed by four decades of advising corporate clients on employee benefits, we firmly believe they are a practical, affordable guide to understanding financial wellbeing.
But back to our central premise. What is the view of financial wellbeing when it comes to 50-something workers?
1. Age isn’t just a number when it comes to numbers
We asked HR teams which age group they considered to be the least financially stable. Given this is the central challenge with which financial wellness seeks to help, it offered an insight into perception, rather than reality.
Around one in three questioned felt all ages equally bore the brunt of poor financial wellbeing but only 10.5 per cent chose 50-somethings as the cohort most under pressure.
Given that this is the biggest age group to have left work for good following the pandemic, is this misplaced? Especially as we now see evidence that a number are returning with one of the reasons being money?
Time to update the inaccurate image of well-off folk contentedly approaching their golden years. The reality of caring responsibilities for elderly relatives, ageism in the job market and their own health concerns, suggests these pressures are not sufficiently appreciated or acknowledged.
2. Support to decipher the numbers is critical
Making the case for financial wellbeing is more than making the numbers add up. Financial literacy is a vital part of navigating life, but making wellbeing make sense is more about translating and communicating.
In particular, pensions, the mention of which sees many people zone out.
More than half of the employers we asked (51 per cent) did nothing further than provide a pension for their employees but one in three did provide some sort of guidance.
Of course, we have an interest in saying that we believe time spent helping your people understand the value of pensions plays a crucial role in financial wellbeing, but we also believe it to be a fundamentally beneficial activity even without our involvement.
What we hear time and again is the assertion from employers that the effort they make to put in place attractive, valuable and relevant employee benefits, and the impact they have on financial wellbeing, is often under-appreciated. Sometimes, just the right communication can be what’s required to defrost what can seem distant and disconnected.
3. How happy are you with the support you offer?
Even where support is offered, our research suggests the perception of its impact is ambiguous with just under a third (31 per cent) “somewhat happy” while 24 per cent were “somewhat unhappy”.A further 24 per cent were “unsure”, and only 12 per cent “very happy”.
At the very least, auditing what you do provide would offer an insight into how it chimes.
Aspire to Retire is one way we help more than 10,000 pension scheme members make more sense of their employee benefits and the very real part they can play in financial wellbeing.
4. Pensions in particular
Before employee benefits became another accepted phrase, like financial wellbeing, pensions were pretty much the employee benefit. Not surprisingly, 97 per cent of those we surveyed said they would consider a free way to help their people understand more closely how valuable their pension can be.
Pension Potential fulfils that need by giving your people a picture of how much they will have for retirement. Free to you, free to use and online, it can sit alongside your employee benefits platform.
Given that cost of making such guidance available was a factor for 54 per cent of respondents, it will cost only your time to consider what is a big number for your people.
We’ve designed cost-effective aids to help every employee with financial wellbeing, however old they may be. From our box set to our online programmes and solutions, they’re shaped by the experience of our consulting team to help you deliver support for your staff.