While fewer than half (42 per cent) of U.S. employers are currently offering financial wellness programs, that number is set to almost double to 80 per cent by 2023, according to a survey by the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.

The survey, which questioned nearly 900 U.S. employers, found 90 per cent of respondents said their primary reason for implementing these programs is caring for employees. Eight in 10 said they want to support employees at minimal cost while offering cutting-edge benefits and the same amount said gaining an advantage in attracting the right talent is a motivating factor.

Read: How employers are supporting employees’ financial literacy

“Financial wellness has become a huge priority for employers across the country as Americans struggle with managing a wide variety of financial issues, from paying down credit card debt and handling emergency medical expenses to saving for retirement and planning for long-term care,” said Una Morabito, MassMutual’s head of client management, in a press release.

The survey also asked employers what constitutes an effective financial wellness program. About half (47 per cent) said programs need to address an employee’s full financial picture. They also cited the need to address a combination of retirement, insurance, education benefits and advice, credit or debit counselling, assistance with medical costs and child or elder care.

More than three-quarters (78 per cent) of employers said their financial wellness program is extremely or very successful, based on feedback from employees, participation rates, employee metrics and retention.

Read: Majority of Canadians want financial education in the workplace: survey

In addition, survey respondents said the most successful parts of their program are online retirement tools (86 per cent) and financial planning tools (86 per cent), followed by life, disability and medical insurance (82 per cent) and access to a financial advisor for financial planning (77 per cent) or retirement planning (76 per cent).

Some 43 per cent of employers said communications were a successful way of helping employees with their financial wellness, including those sent by human resources (26 per cent) and upper management (17 per cent). One-third (32 per cent) said financial rewards, such as discounts, cash awards and free credit reports, also drive participation.

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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