Finance of America offers Financial Wellness Plan

Finance of America offers Financial Wellness Plan

Finance of America offers Financial Wellness Plan for U.S. Employers – Providing Financial Tools & Discounts to Reduce Employee Stress and Improve Performance

Do money worries keep you up at night? If so, you’re not alone. The 2017 Financial Wellness Survey by Prudential found that 57 percent of employees say they are very or somewhat stressed about their financial situation. The top three concerns cited by employees who experience financial stress include: saving for the future, paying monthly bills and handling credit card debt.

"One of the most concerning findings from the survey is the large percentage of people who don’t have an emergency savings fund," says Timothy Walsh, managing director with Finance of America.

Fifty-seven percent of people have less than $1,000 in savings, according to a 2017 GoBankingRates survey. Even worse, 39 percent say they have zero dollars in savings. In an effort to address financial difficulties, many companies now offer financial counseling and financial wellness support to their employees.

The YourHomeResource® program, offered by Finance of America to more than 1.8 million employees at companies across the country, started providing mortgage services in 2015 to affiliated corporations. Today, Walsh says, the program offers broader financial wellness services to help people budget, manage their credit and establish or improve their savings habits. The program can be customized for each business based on the size of the company and the needs of employees.

"We offer this complementary employee benefit to companies because we want to provide education that helps employees make better financial choices," says Walsh.

Why offer financial wellness services

While employees can benefit from employer-led financial services, employers benefit as well.

"We believe this program is a win-win for employers and employees because these resources can help employees make smarter decisions and employers may benefit from reduced financial stress among employees," says Walsh.

Nearly one in three employees reported being distracted at work by a personal finance issue, according to the PWC 2017 Employee Financial Wellness Survey. Nearly half (46 percent) of those surveyed say they spend three hours or more per week at work thinking about or dealing with personal finance issues.

"Offering a financial wellness program can help organizations reduce absenteeism, increase productivity, reduce medical costs due to stress-related conditions and improve employee recruitment and retention," says Walsh.

While employees can find other resources to address financial planning issues, Prudential’s research found that individuals are more likely to use financial counseling services and tools aimed at budgeting, saving, and investing if those services and tools are offered by their employer.

Options for financial services

An essential element to employer-sponsored financial wellness programs is for the employees to feel secure in their privacy, says Walsh. Wellness fairs, videos, livestreamed or recorded webinars, podcasts, "lunch-and-learn" onsite sessions are all part of the YourHomeResource® program depending on the size of the company and the services requested. Some companies offer incentives for their employees to participate in the program.

"We provide a customized website for each company as well as a dedicated individual or team to support the relationship between us, the company and its employees," says Walsh. "We also encourage employee-led homebuyer clubs because we’ve found they can be a good support network."

Employees who choose to finance a primary residence or a second home with Finance of America receive a refund of the appraisal fee, a free one-year home warranty, one free year of identity theft protection and a one-year subscription to "Assets in Order," an encrypted online storage system for personal and financial documents.

In the future, more financial products such as home equity loans, personal loans, student loans and personalized investment advice may be offered by Finance of America or its partners through employer-based financial wellness programs.

Reducing stress and building financial confidence can strengthen employees and, by extension, their employers.