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Financial Wellness, A Fad or Indispensable

Every two to three years, a new buzz word is embraced by the retirement plan industry. For the last two years that term has been "Financial Wellness" and it is most likely here to stay.

Financial Wellness is an all-encompassing term to mean a comprehensive collection of tools and education provided to the employees in the workplace. The tools can be varied, but include at a minimum: an assessment tool, education, calculators, videos and articles.

A more complete Financial Wellness package will include a consultant or Certified Financial Planner (CFP) hotline, an account aggregator tool and a Social Security analyzer.

There are many tools on the market that an advisor can purchase and many recordkeepers like ABG Rocky Mountain already incorporates tools into their retirement plan offering available through the participant website. The decision on what and how varied your tools will be is dependent on your ability to support those tools.

ABG Rocky Mountain has many financial tools available to help your employees achieve a successful retirement.

As you develop your financial wellness toolbox, talk with your recordkeeper about their ability to make the tools available as click-through widgets from their participant website. This will increase the adoption rate of the tools and provide a one stop shop for their retirement plan and financial wellness.

One tool, Financial Finesse, is available through ABG Rocky Mountain in an exclusive relationship at a very minimal fee. Financial Finesse takes the employee through an assessment and gives them their own financial readiness score from one to ten. Then based on their answers, the tool will develop a curriculum of articles and actions they can take to move their financial wellness needle. Please contact your client service manager for more information on getting access to Financial Finesse for your plans.

So far, the adoption rate of participants using the financial wellness tools has been, as expected, a bit slow. This is not unlike all new things. It is our opinion that a good advisor will need to have a complete toolkit but the utilization of that toolkit will be based on your ability to advertise the benefits and availability of the tools. There are a whole host of statistics and anecdotes that can be used to help employees understand the importance of improving their financial acumen and using the tools.

An advisor will need to host various webinars and in-person group meetings for their clients to build excitement for the program. Understanding your client base and their specific needs will be key to providing the right mix of marketing for your financial wellness tools.

We are not expecting "financial wellness" to go away any time soon. An average advisor will have tools available to "check the box" on a request for proposal (RFP). An elite advisor will embrace the tools, create a comprehensive financial wellness offering, a delivery mechanism and follow up in a one-on-one setting to give the employees the best dedicated support.

The benefits to the plan sponsor are numerous and include: a happier workforce, less absenteeism, employees retiring on time and a reduction in stress-related illnesses and medical bills. An advisor who can show their client the value of a financial wellness program and provide it for them as part of the complete retirement plan offering will secure a long-term relationship.

Ask us how we can help you build out your financial wellness offering by speaking with your client service manager.

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Writer: Lawrence Solomon, AIF®, President ABG Consultants