Financial wellness has been a hot topic among employers in recent years as companies try to shield their workers from the distraction caused by financial stress by providing them with information and services around retirement savings, health care costs and other financial topics. A recent study from the Employee Benefit Research Institute shows financial wellness webinars can result in employees’ directing a bigger portion of their salary to the 401(k) plan.
The EBRI study looked at participants in 500 plans who had the opportunity to attend such sessions, and found that webinars on nine topics were linked to employees boosting their contributions to their 401(k)s: budgeting, estate planning, investing, retiree health costs, Social Security, student loans, tax savings, health care choices and health savings accounts.
EBRI divided plan participants between younger workers, those below the age of 45, and older workers, who are 45 and above. It also distinguished between workers contributing at a lower level than the median for their age group and those contributing at a level that’s above the median for their age group.
Younger workers with lower contributions who attended any type of webinar increased their annual contribution by an average of $649. The biggest change in contributions by workers in this group was seen among those who attended a budgeting webinar; those workers boosted their 401(k) contribution by an average of $3,284. Younger workers with lower contributions who attended an HSA webinar raised their 401(k) contribution by an average of $2,654, the study notes.
Younger workers with higher contributions who attended any type of session boosted their contribution by an average $716. The highest increases in contributions among this group were made by those who had attended investing webinars; on average, they raised their contributions by $1,851.
Older workers with lower contributions who attended a webinar on average increased the amount they put into their 401(k)s by $988. The biggest change occurred among those who attended a budgeting webinar; on average, they boosted the amount they contributed by $3,626.
Older workers with higher contributions who participated in any kind of webinar on average increased what they sent to their 401(k)s by $932. Again, the biggest rise came among those who attended a budgeting webinar, which on average resulted in an increase of $2,793.
Of course, those results depend on employees attending the financial wellness webinar. A study released earlier this year by TIAA found that less than a third of companies offer any type of financial wellness program, and at companies that do provide wellness programs, about two-thirds of workers participate.
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Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He’s also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.