Four ways to update your financial wellness program

In this year’s Workplace Benefits Report, our tenth edition, we compare our recent findings to earlier years to reveal some notable trends in workplace financial wellness—as well as key takeaways for employers to consider as they look to evolve their programs to address today’s emerging needs.

Financial wellness programs have grown in prevalence and scope

Today, 62% of employers feel a responsibility to employees’ financial wellness, compared to only 13% in 2013.1 As financial wellness programs become more prevalent in the workplace, employees’ expectations of what those programs offer are also expanding. They want their programs to go beyond basic needs to cover a wider range of financial concerns, such as how to make retirement savings last, plan for health care costs and manage debt.

Employee financial wellness has a direct impact on overall happiness and productivity

There are good business reasons for the growth of financial wellness programs. Employers are seeing the connection between employee financial wellness and productivity—and realizing how critical a workplace financial wellness program is to business success.

Key takeaways and action steps

Address common employee challenges that go beyond retirement saving, such as budgeting, debt management and managing health care costs.

59% of employees say they do not have a high level of control over their debt.

38% plan to use retirement savings to cover health care costs.

Provide guidance across a spectrum of financial goals and priorities, addressing short-term challenges and planning for long-term goals together.

The top three financial goals for:

Graphic showing Gen Z and Millennials: Paying off credit card debt, buying my first house and growing savings to pay for unexpected expenses.
Graphic showing Gen Xers: Saving for retirement, paying off a mortgage and paying off credit card debt.
Graphic showing Baby Boomers and Silent Generation: Saving for retirement, paying off credit card debt and growing savings to pay for unexpected expenses.

Acknowledge differences within the workplace and the way needs may differ based on gender or age, so financial wellness tools speak to the unique needs of each employee group.

Women are nearly twice as likely to cite not having spare money after monthly expenses as their main challenge.

Graphic showing 27 percent for men and 47 percent for women.

And while access to a professional financial advisor is at the top of the list for all employees, their second most important resource varies by age group.

Gen Z and Millennials want online tools.

Gen Xers want help developing good financial skills and habits.

Baby Boomers and Silent Generation want information about retirement plans.

Think about wellness in a more holistic way, one that acknowledges the interconnected nature of financial, physical and mental wellness.

When employees were asked what factors contribute to their sense of overall well-being, more employees rated physical and mental aspects over financial ones.

Graphic showing 51 percent for physical, 54 percent for mental, and 49 percent for financial.

47% of employers currently offer specific programs to promote diversity and inclusion, which can help contribute to overall feelings of wellness among employees.

Download the 2020 Workplace Benefits Report and discuss these key action steps and solutions for your workplace with your Bank of America representative.

1 Bank of America 2013 Workplace Benefits Report.

Unless otherwise noted, all data in this article is from the 2020 Workplace Benefits Report.

Bank of America 2020 Workplace Benefits Report methodology: Escalent Market Research surveyed a national sample of 996 employees who are working full time and participate in 401(k) plans and 804 employers who offer both a 401(k) plan and have sole or shared responsibility for decisions made in the plan. The survey was conducted between February 27, 2020 and March 27, 2020. Respondents were not required to work with Bank of America, nor was Bank of America identified as the sponsor of the study.