Crafting a financial wellness solution that makes a real difference for employees


Louisville, KY – September 21, 2016 – Financial Wellness Week (9/26-30) suggests there’s no better time for employers to tackle the issue of employees’ financial wellbeing. “Offering financial wellness solutions to employees is a no-brainer. Numerous studies link financial stress with diminished employee health and productivity,” said Carla Dearing, CEO of SUM180, an online financial planning service designed to be simple and affordable.

Among study findings:

  • Financial concerns are a major source of stress: 85% of employees feel at least some level of financial stress, with 25% of employees experiencing high or overwhelming financial stress
  • 29% of employees report missing work to deal with the stress caused by their finances
  • Addressing financial concerns drives engagement, productivity and success by as much as $400 per employee
  • Employer financial wellness efforts promote loyalty and connection, and can positively impact as many as 50% of employees

“Not all financial wellness programs are equal, however. If you are making this investment for your employees, it is important to understand why traditional programs usually fail to engage,” said Carla. “One big reason financial wellness programs fail is that they focus on ‘education’ and financial literacy, which simply do not inspire or empower behavioral change. The good news: if your goal is to help employees improve their financial picture and reduce financial stress, then your goal is absolutely doable. But, you have to be willing to take a different approach,” Carla continued.

Following are the key elements for creating a truly transformative financial wellness program:

  1. It is comprehensive. Piecemeal solutions, such as 401(k) training or student loan repayment programs, are not enough. In focusing on particular areas, you are basically ignoring other equally important components of your employees’ financial health. Financial wellness, like physical wellness, needs to be viewed and treated holistically. Only when a financial wellness solution takes into account someone’s full financial picture can the most important issues be identified and addressed.
  2. It is personalized. Cookie-cutter recommendations fail to take into account each employee’s personal circumstances—and, as a result, will never engage or inspire action. The right financial wellness solution will assess each employee’s individual financial situation and offer tailored action steps that are right-sized for each individual to make them ‘doable.’ You’ll know your program is working when your employees respond with, ‘This feels right for me. I can do this!’
  3. It is private. Money is a highly sensitive, emotionally charged subject that is hard to discuss even with our closest friends and family, much less in an employer-sponsored group setting. The right financial wellness program respects employees’ need for privacy by offering ways to get oriented and explore in private, either via an online portal or through one-on-one sessions. In fact, for many people, even one-on-one consultations can be too much; for them, ‘private’ means alone. Building ‘safe spaces’ into your program empowers your employees to address financial issues without self-consciousness or fear of judgment.
  4. It is arm’s length to you. On the one hand, an effective financial wellness program requires comprehensive and accurate data on all its participants. On the other hand, employers do not, and should not, know the details of their employees’ financial situations. Your employees need to be met where they are financially and given personalized solutions that work; but you cannot play that role. The right financial wellness program is arm’s length to you, the employer: holding employees’ details on third-party servers and reporting only aggregated data to you.

“The more financially fit your employees, the stronger your company is as a whole. Investing in a financial wellness program that makes a real difference in your employees’ lives is absolutely worth the cost and effort,” Carla concluded.


About SUM180

SUM180 is an online financial planning service designed to make planning and dealing with your money simple and affordable.

Specifically, SUM180 is differentiated in the following ways:

  • SUM180 meets people where they are. SUM180 plans are personalized to help people wherever they are right now on their financial journey; whether they’re just beginning, starting over or well on their way.
  • SUM180 plans are simple. They start with only the three (3) most important next steps, making them easier to accomplish, and gives clients a clear picture of where they are.
  • SUM180 doesn’t assume clients want to become financial experts to meet their financial goals. SUM180 provides the tools they need, without overwhelming them with “education” and details they don’t need.
  • SUM180 offers a community for users, unfiltered, which allows them to explore and share.
  • SUM180 serves; never sells. Earning and keeping client trust is SUM180’s highest priority. SUM180 never makes commissions from any of its recommendations, ever.

Additional information about SUM180 may be found at
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Robin Schoen
Robin Schoen Public Relations
215.504.2122 office
215.595.7542 mobile


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