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Financial Wellness Programs Will Thrive in 2017

Plan sponsors are slated to increase “financial wellness” programs beyond retirement decisions in 2017, to include such things as financial literacy, budgeting, debt management and financial planning. Here are the key points retirement plan advisors should follow:

Employer Interest is Growing

Aon Hewitt’s 2016 Hot Topics in Retirement and Financial Well-Being report found that 55 percent of employers already offer help in at least one category that falls under the umbrella of financial well-being, and 38 percent have at least three categories covered. By the end of the year, these percentages are expected to grow to 77 percent and 52 percent, respectively.

Over half of employers indicate they are very likely to focus on the financial well-being of employees beyond only retirement decisions, a ten percentage point increase from 2015 and tops employer initiatives in 2016.

The rise is partly explained by employers’ bringing physical wellness initiatives into their programs, says Greg Ward, a director with program provider Financial Finesse in El Segundo, California. In fact, developing a wellness culture has become a “best practice,” he says.

Advisor Interest Is Growing

For some advisors, providing companies with financial wellness programs has moved from an afterthought to a business differentiator. A recent survey from ADP, Grow Your Practice with Financial Wellness, found that while only 22 percent of advisors work with employers on financial wellness programs, another 46 percent are considering it.

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