Is financial education the big fix?

Smoother retirement transitions, reduced workplace stress, and improved employee engagement – is it really all possible?

Is financial education the big fix?
A recent survey has cited money as the leading source of stress for Canadians and now industry experts say employers who provide sound financial advice to their workers could reap a whole host of rewards.

Workplace stress
The study, conducted by the Financial Planning Standards Council, also found that a significant percentage of Canadian workers are losing sleep over financial worries – with 51 per cent of women suffering sleep loss and 40 per cent of men.

So, paired with the revelation that money is the number one cause of stress in the country, it seems there’s a strong argument for offering financial education solely in terms of employee well-being.

“There is a natural progression from health and wellbeing, particularly from mental health and stress initiatives, to financial education,” said Michelle Bradshaw, benefits director at Oracle. “It’s about how people feel working for your organisation.”

Employee engagement

Clearly stressed-out Canadians are aware of what’s causing them trouble – the Financial Education in the Workplace survey found that 87 per cent of workers want their employers to offer financial education programs.

Speaking at an annual HR masterclass held by employee benefits advisor Secondsight, Steve Webb said workers were placing increasing importance on the perk.

“I think workplace advice will come to be valued more as a benefit,” said the former UK minister of state for pensions.

He added that employers who offered such a sought-after perk could likely see improved engagement and retention across the workforce.

Succession planning

Webb added that financial education could also make potentially difficult retirement transitions a whole lot easier.
“In a world where you can’t sack people at 65 anymore, managing them out at the right time is important,” he said. “There’s potential mutual benefit there I think.”

Benefits director Bradshaw agreed – “It sounds brutal but this is about succession planning,” she said. “Otherwise in 15 to 20 years the smarter employees who have been working hard to make sure they can retire early will leave, so you’ll have a huge outpouring of talent, and you might only be left with those less high-performing workers.”

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