Shortlister hosted Carla Dearing, the Co-founder and CEO of SUM180, in our Meet-a-Vendor webinar series in which SUM180 covered how to make financial wellness work for employees through small, personalized and actionable steps.
SUM180 is an online financial wellness service that supports behavior change. Their platform is very easy to use and meets the employee where they are in their financial journey. It also offers affordable access to qualified financial advisers and an online community for engagement where employees can support one another.
During this webinar, Carla presented some alarming statistical data about the employee financial stress:
- 50% of employees have $1,000 or less on hand for sudden medical expenses
- 81% of employers offered a high-deductible plan in 2015
- 70% of 401k plan borrowers defaulted when they lost their job
- 33% of 401k plan participants took a hardship loan
Employees are overwhelmed, fearful and generally not dealing with their finances well, which leads to financial stress and has a downstream effect on the employer, by decreasing productivity and impacting the bottom line. According to SUM180, traditional solutions alone, such as financial education/literacy and access to advisors for defined contribution accounts are not fixing the problem and often fail to engage.
A successful program that makes a real difference for employees needs to be comprehensive. It must consider the employee’s full financial picture, be personalized to include tailored next steps that are right-sized and actionable, provide a buffer where employers have access only to aggregated employee data, and offer privacy to make employees feel more comfortable.
According to SUM180 the best practices for financial wellness programs, which they have adapted, are earning employee’s trust by making the solution confidential, available 24/7, nonjudgmental, simple, and unbiased. Other best practices include:
- Encouraging change by providing personalized and actionable steps
- Emphasize accomplishments, address the comprehensive picture, and provide tips and education to the user
- Supporting actions by providing small steps, progress tracking for accountability, coaching from advisors, notifications prompting progress, and ability to share stories
If you are a user of Shortlister, click here to access the full Meet a Vendor presentation
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