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Delivering financial education at work makes sense

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Where do many Americans make their most important decisions about taxes, retirement, health insurance, and other financial issues? At work. That’s why we recently held a field hearing in Atlanta of the Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC) to talk about workplace financial education.

We heard from business and nonprofit leaders, brought together by the Georgia Consortium for Personal Financial Literacy, who talked with Director Cordray about their experiences with financial education at work. In an earlier meeting, Director Cordray heard from ministers representing the Concerned Black Clergy of Metropolitan Atlanta about student loan debt and other consumer issues and how these issues were contributing to finance stress among their parishioners.

At the FLEC field hearing, Director Cordray spoke about why the workplace is an ideal place for financial education and suggested it can be good business for employers to help relieve employees’ financial stress (transcript). Dr. Katherine Sauer of the University of Colorado provided three reasons why employers should consider financial education at work:

  • More and more employees come to work but their minds are on their personal situation (“presenteeism”).
  • As employees move from job to job, it gets harder for them to manage the rising number of retirement accounts and decisions.
  • Growing numbers of employees need help juggling the financial stress of caring for children and aging parents at the same time.

A lot of money is at stake

For employers, about 30 cents of each dollar spent on employee compensation is spent on benefits. If employees don’t make the most of their health, retirement, and other benefits, neither employees nor employers get the full value of the benefits investments. The most effective financial education can be delivered at the point when employees are making their benefits decisions—“just in time” modules that guide them through enrollment and action steps.

Help is available now

If you’re an employer or human resources professional, feel free to share these no-cost resources with employees:

  • MsCatsMeow

    Actually, delivering financial eduction to students while they are still in high school makes much more sense. Most kids have never even seen a checkbook or a bank statement and have NO idea how to manage a deposit, checking, or credit card account. They have never had the most basic of classes on personal finance. While the brochures you have produced are good tools and most welcome, it is NOT the employers’ responsibility to teach their employees how to manage money. By the time a person is working, they’ve already set up their money-handling habits, most of which are more short-sighted grasshopper than long-term ant. Get these people while they are still in school BEFORE those bad habits start.

    • truth

      And teach them to stay away from predatory loan sharks like Sallie Mae.

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