Financial stress is a harsh reality of modern living – but that cloud could have a silver, or even golden, lining if you can you use it to reel in new clients.
According to a report by AON Hewitt, more than 93 per cent of large employers are looking to expand their financial wellness programs for employees beyond retirement planning alone. Offering financial wellness courses have become a new hot trend to help employees make informed decisions and maximise their benefits as they deal with the ever-increasing complexities of financial responsibilities.
However, according to Frank Wiginton, CEO and financial wellness expert for Employee Financial Well-Being, smart financial planners might actually be able to use these courses to draw in new custom: as long as they are savvy in their approach. By setting up courses for employers in your area, you have the opportunity to attract new companies to your business - as long as you don’t use it as a direct sales pitch.
“Financial wellness courses can be a great way to attract clients if it is done outside of the workplace and the planner has the time, knowledge, and ability to deliver an effective offering,” he said. “Most financial advisors need to spend their time selling and participants that attend a workshop or lunch or learn don’t want to waste their time listening to a sales pitch.
“You have to know how to effectively communicate the concepts and ideas, have facilitation skills, an understanding of how to educate and the skills to develop effective education. Maybe it would be better if the financial planners sponsored financial educators to deliver the program and point to them as to who to turn to, to help with their new-found knowledge.”
Many financial wellness courses focus on retirements and pensions – however, the best courses available will go beyond that and examine habits and behaviours with money. They should look at cash flow, daily spending habits and debt management. In the process, it is hoped that it will help to reduce both anxiety and stress by empowering the participant with tools, habits and knowledge about their relationship with money.
If you’re looking to offer a financial wellness course to your employees or potential clients, Wiginton believes it’s important to think outside the box.
“A company can choose to just “check a box” and say they have offered financial wellness by emailing articles and handing out brochures,” he said. “This is hugely ineffective and a waste of everyone’s time.
“A proper financial wellness offering will provide a multitude of ways to get the education through and influence behaviours and habits around money. This might include a webinar or lunch and learn with an inductive subject to get the attention and engage the participants. This could then be followed by half day workshop with challenges and rewards. One way to induce participation is to offer topics that are most pressing to the audience or position a topic around external triggers.”