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Heat Up Employees’ Financial Wellness with These Summer-Related Tips

Here's how to help employees cool off their money woes this summer.

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Summertime brings sunshine, outdoor recreation, and big spending. In fact, the 2017 Allianz Travel Insurance Vacation Confidence Index found that Americans were projected to spend about $100 billion on summer vacations.

Use the summer months to remind employees about how to use your financial wellness program to take control of their financial health.

Employees’ financial wellness has a big impact on overall productivity. In fact, the 2017 Employee Financial Wellness Survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that nearly one in three employees say issues with personal finances distract them at work.

Here’s how to help employees manage their financial wellness during the summer:

Cool Down the Debt

One of the most pressing employee well-being issues is debt. In fact, my company, LifeWorks, recently conducted a survey and found that Gen Z employees rank credit card debt as a top financial obstacle.

What’s startling is the amount of debt the average American carries and how they struggle to manage it. According to 2018 research from WalletHub, Americans owe more than $1 trillion in credit card debt. The average credit card debt per household at the end of 2017 was a whopping $8,600.

Summer spending is slippery slope. Putting flights and hotel costs on credit cards, while tempting, adds to ‘bad debt.’ While good debt can generate long-term income and grow in value, bad debt depreciate over time.

Teach this to your employees by hosting a summer seminar on debt. Invite a financial advisor to show how bad debt differs from good debt, and how to shift your mindset when purchasing with credit cards. Advisors can also help employees set mini-goals to help reduce their credit card debt and adjust their spending habits.

Follow up this seminar with credit check-ins with employees. Encourage peer support groups so co-workers can hold each other accountable and share how they’re hitting their credit management goals.

Heat Up the Repayments

One of the most talked about forms of debt is the dreaded student loan. While they’re often considered good debt because they are meant to lead to higher earnings over time, repaying them is a major burden.

According to our survey, Gen Zers rank student loan debt as another top financial obstacle. Some are even uncertain about how (or if) they will get out from under it. A March 2018 study from LendEDU found nearly 40 percent of Gen Zers say they either don’t believe they’ll be able to fully repay their student loan debt or they’re unsure they will.

To instill confidence in your employees, teach them about various repayment strategies so they can take control of their student loans. For example, refer them to refinancing services to lower their interest rate and simplify their payments. Also, encourage them to submit biweekly payments to pay off their principal faster.

Another great tactic for improving employee well-being is offering student loan repayment benefits. Apps like Peanut Butter, for instance, allow employers to contribute a specified amount toward student loan repayments for their employees. Adding more money every month to their payment helps them pay down their loans faster and help them save over the long-term.

Take a (Permanent) Vacation From Financial Stress

Employee well-being aspects like financial wellness are best improved by adjusting daily habits. When it comes to money woes, your employees might need a simple readjustment of their spending habits and their mindset.

So, teach employees how to adopt healthier spending and saving habits. But don’t just send money tips in a newsletter — engage them in fun ways.

Start a financial wellness competition in your workplace. Each week, have employees report on what money habits they use and earn points for each one. For example, these habits can include adding to their emergency fund, balancing their checkbook, or even something as simple as preparing meals to save on eating out for lunch.

You want to show how small habit adjustments, like automating transfers to savings and spending below the allocated amount for each budget category, have big impacts on their overall financial wellness. These changes create peace of mind.

Award the employee with the most points a prize that helps further alleviate financial burdens, whether it’s a gift card or treating them to lunch. This way, they feel motivated to build these healthy habits into their daily lives.

Improving employee well-being is an ongoing effort. Summer is meant to be a fun, active time of the year, making it the perfect time to help employees set themselves up for great financial wellness. And what’s better than relaxing on the beach without worrying about money?

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