Bring up the word Wellness and what immediately jumps to mind is usually ways to improve the physical health of the workforce. However, true wellness covers a broader spectrum and includes, not only physical, but emotional and financial wellness as well. Especially at this time of year when the urge to overspend is likely, a targeted approach towards financial wellness makes all the sense. Similar to overeating and alter regretting it, over spending comes with its own regret and last log after the start of the new year and take much longer to rectify than losing a few pounds.
The most effective Financial Wellness programs, however, are not a one size fits all. A new study by Prudential Financial, Inc. examined differences in the financial needs and attitudes of various underserved groups in the workplace and the income inequality that affects each set. The 3,000 U.S. respondents included women, African Americans, Latino Americans, Asian Americans, caregivers, and members of the LGBTQ community.
Among key findings in the survey, African Americans across all income levels were more likely than the population at large to prioritize helping others financially, including caring for parents or other family members, paying their children’s college tuition, leaving an inheritance to their heirs, and giving to charity. Women in the survey earned an average annual income of $52,521, compared with $84,006 for men. Half of women said they were the primary breadwinner in their household. Almost 40% of caregivers don’t think they’ll ever be able to retire, compared to just 25% of non-caregivers, and caregivers were more likely to take out a loan or hardship withdrawal from their 401(k) plans.
In a statement, Lata Reddy, Prudential’s senior vice president, Diversity, Inclusion & Impact, said a person’s path to financial wellness is deeply personal. “While there are common experiences that tie us all together, there are also distinct factors that are unique to our individual journeys that impact the ultimate destination,” she said. “These factors need to be clearly understood for true progress to be made.” Reddy recommended that employers listen to the people in each community to understand their needs.
This ties in nicely with the Workforce of One approach that I am so an advocate of. Programs created for the “average” employee are serving no one, because no one is the “average” employee. Just like the Target page that pops up with different recommendations depending on who is logging in, we need to design our HR programs to ensure that we are meeting the needs of individuals.