Workers' financial stress is an opportunity for FAs

Eckler survey shows financial advice in the workplace is in demand

Workers' financial stress is an opportunity for FAs
Steve Randall

If financial advisors can access workplaces to provide unbiased advice to workers, it would be strongly welcomed according to a new survey.

An overwhelming 80% of Canadian workers polled by actuary and consulting firm Eckler said that they want financial education in the workplace.

The 2019 Eckler Financial Wellness in the Workplace Survey also found that 54% of workers feel some degree of stress about their finances; 32% said it’s a high level of stress.

“The amount of stress Canadians face today is unprecedented. Lack of focus at work, increasing amounts of time spent managing personal finances and increased use of employee benefit plans to manage stress-related illnesses is now commonplace," said Janice Holman, Principal, Eckler Ltd.

Ms. Holmans added that employers are looking to financial wellness programs to help mitigate the stress in their workforce but that designing the right plan is critical to improving outcomes.

Retirement advice

As more workers approach retirement, there is a need for programs targeted to older workers.

"As the baby boom generation moves through the workforce, there is a desire for a more personal approach as they get close to retirement. This is a critical time in their lives, and financial decisions can have a significant impact on their retirement lifestyle," said Eckler consultant Frank Wiginton.

The survey highlights the demand for unbiased, third-party advice for financial wellness programs in the workplace.

This is important for both employers (84% said so) and employees (90%) who want unbiased advice; while experience is important for 85% of companies and 84% of workers. Third-party accreditation is also demanded by the majority.

"Who delivers the financial education plays an important role in how the messaging is perceived and accepted,” added Wiginton. “If the source of education is not trusted, motivation for employees to take action based on the information provided will be low. Receiving information from an unbiased source was the most highly ranked answer in the survey and is key to employees engaging with the education they receive."