FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Louisville, KY – January 20, 2016 – Increasingly, employers are expanding their wellness programs with the goal of improving their employees’ financial wellness and security. SUM180 founding CEO Carla Dearing suggests that in order for these programs to be of immediate use and benefit, they must be properly constructed. SUM180 is an online financial planning service built by women for women that provides a radical alternative to current advisory services offerings to make financial planning easy and accessible for women.
“Given that financial strain can negatively impact productivity and health, providing financial wellness programs is smart for employers and good for employees. That said, these programs are up against many of the same hurdles employers encounter with their wellness programs. Most prominently, resistance resulting from both a lack of time and limited technical knowledge, especially of how to save for the future. As such, it’s critical that financial wellness programs be structured to enlighten and inspire,” according to Carla.
Carla offers the following three tips to making financial wellness ‘land’ for employees:
1. Recognize how emotional money issues are and deal with them that way.
No one expects to know how to fix a car without training as a car mechanic. No one expects to build a house without a background in design and construction. No one expects to build an app without learning to code. Yet most of us expect to be good with money intuitively.
All of us start on the path – by balancing our checkbook, by buying a car. Some of us go on to start our 401(k) and then take the steps to buy a house, normally with advice from someone who has done it. Beyond those first basic financial activities, we all need some additional training to know what to do. Because that is not widely acknowledged, many people begin to opt out from the next logical steps and they feel like they’ve failed at handling their money.
The financial industry and the media reinforce that sense of failure by suggesting that, for what we don’t know, we should be driven to ‘educate ourselves,’ but most of us are frankly not that interested in becoming financial experts. We just want a good plan for our money, and for our future.
Research confirms that emotions like being overwhelmed and discouraged about money are foremost in creating the barriers to saving.
Financial wellness programs should be sure to address employees’ financial concerns in terms of emotional cues such as security, stability, and protection, and reassure them they have not ‘failed,’ but rather that they can begin from wherever they are to plan and save for the future.
2. Make the steps for getting started simple.
Tackling anything complicated for the first time can be mystifying, even scary. But like most things, people’s finances are not that complicated when tackled one piece at a time. The key is to break down the larger goal of ‘preparing for retirement’ into small, manageable tasks.
Many people cannot relate where they are today to a view of a successful retirement, especially since commercials and ads widely promote images of retirement that are well beyond the means of most of us.
In fact, a secure future will take most of us a lifetime to build. Programs need to be structured so that employees can start where they are—wherever that is—and build from there.
To help employees relate and take the first steps, we suggest programs provide information and support for only three things that each employee can do now, given their specific circumstances, to move forward toward a more secure financial future. For instance, an employee with younger children might be given a plan to begin college savings before looking to buy a bigger house. Besides taking full advantage of all available qualified retirement plans, getting that college savings plan on track is all they would focus on for now.
Our experience shows that most people feel comfortable, and are able to move forward with confidence, when given such tangible, manageable advice from a trusted source.
3. Take a holistic approach to the employee’s financial picture
Most of the financial industry is focused on one element of people’s financial picture. Bankers focus on your savings and personal loans. Insurance agents on insurance products. Real estate agents on your home. 401(k) administrators on your qualified retirement accounts. Brokers on your investments.
This leaves the individual in a bind, without anyone to sort out: What order should I approach these topics in? How do they relate? Do they all tie together?
Providing access to an adviser or service that takes a holistic approach based on the entire picture is an obvious help to employees.
SUM180 is an online financial planning service designed by women for women. With the goal of making financial planning simple and affordable for women, SUM180 provides a radical alternative to current financial advisory offerings.
Specifically, SUM180 is differentiated in the following ways:
- SUM180 meets women where they are. SUM180 plans are personalized to help women 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. Clients need only focus on just three of their most important next steps at any given time. This approach is empowering for most, but especially for women who have been “tuned out” of their financial picture for a period of time.
- SUM180 doesn’t try to give clients a degree in finance. SUM180 clients don’t need to become financial experts to meet their financial goals. SUM180 provides the tools they need, without overwhelming them with the details they don’t need.
- SUM180 offers a community for users, unfiltered. SUM180’s community forum allows users to support one another in their plans.
- SUM180 serves; never sells. Earning and keeping client trust is SUM180’s highest priority. SUM180 never makes money based on the advice provided.
Additional information about SUM180 may be found at https://sum180.com/.