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The Business Case for Financial Education - Personal Financial Wellness and Employee Productivity. E. Thomas Garman Presented to The Conference Board Atlanta and San Diego 1998. Introduction.

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The business case for financial education personal financial wellness and employee productivity l.jpg

The Business Case for Financial Education- Personal Financial Wellnessand Employee Productivity

E. Thomas Garman

Presented to

The Conference Board

Atlanta and San Diego

1998


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Introduction

  • The majority of financial education programs are traditional, narrowly focused retirement education

  • Smart employers are broadening their perspectives about financial education


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Smart Employers

  • Want to help workers make good decisions about:

    • Investment choices within employer-sponsored retirement plans

    • Other employer-furnished fringe benefits

    • Personal budgeting

  • Are helping workers with money problems learn to overcome such obstacles so they can fully fund their retirement plans


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The Rationale for Comprehensive Financial Education Is Strong

What if someone promised you - the employer - a plan to achieve the following:

  • increased worker productivity

  • reduced absenteeism to take care of personal financial matters

  • reduced HR administrative costs

  • increased participation in and contributions to retirement plans


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- reduced social security payroll taxes

- reduced stress over financial matters and stress-related illnesses

- fewer accidents

- improved use of and satisfaction with employer-provided fringe benefits

- reduced hr administrative costs

- reduced turnover


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- reduced pressure to increase salaries

-increased morale and loyalty

-increased number of worker retirements on time, rather than delayed

-reduced exposure to future litigation based upon fiduciary liability as fewer retirees have financial problems

-a positive return on every dollar invested in comprehensive financial education


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Research findings are promising, although more research partners are needed to definitively prove the case for comprehensive financial education


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Research by Joo Shows Financial Wellness and Key Measures of Work Productivity Are Positively Related

Those with poor financial wellness are

more likely to be:

  • Frequently absent from work

  • Receive poor performance ratings

  • Spend excessive time at work dealing with personal financial problems

  • Experience a decline in job productivity from one year to the next


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Workers That Employers Love -

Those with Good Financial Wellness

  • Come to work

  • Receive high performance ratings

  • Use a minimum of time at work attending to personal financial matters

  • Enjoy consistent or increasing job productivity


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Additional Joo Conclusions

  • The likely first year return on investment for financial education that improves the personal financial behavior and wellness of a worker is about $400

  • The potential return comes from fewer absences, less work time spent on dealing with personal financial matters, and increases in job productivity


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Traditional and Narrowly Focused Retirement Education Programs Have Limited Effectiveness

For many employers, retirement plan

participation rates have reached a plateau.


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Some Workers Will Not or Cannot Contribute to Their Retirement Plans

Two reasons exist:

1.Some workers have money problems and cannot afford to save for retirement

2.Some workers are not convinced that they should save for retirement


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Employers Have Questions About What More to Do in Financial Education

  • What would it take to get the participation rate higher?

  • What would it take to help workers change their asset allocation to better diversify their investment portfolios?

  • How much would a comprehensive financial education program cost?

  • Does financial education work?


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  • Can a financial education program be utilized as a recruitment tool?

  • Would expenditures on financial education result in a positive return on investment?

  • Can financial education be utilized as a retention tool?

  • What numbers do I need to convince top management that more money should be committed to a comprehensive financial education program?


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The Cost of Providing Only Retirement Education Is Horribly High

  • Not all workers are secure in their money matters

  • A full 2/3 of Americans say “they have trouble paying their bills and worry about money”

  • 75% of Americans report that they recently faced at least one significant financial problem


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Financial matters and financialstress affect not only an individual’s personal and family life, but also a person’s work life.

Approximately 15% of workers in the U.S. are currently experiencing stress from poor financial behaviors to the extent that it negatively impacts their productivity.


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Poor Financial Behaviors Result in Extremely High Costs Incurred by Employers

1.Absenteeism

2. Tardiness

3. Fighting with co-workers and

supervisors

4. Sabotaging the work of co-workers

5. Job stress

6. Reduced employee productivity


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7. Lowered employee morale

8. Loss of customers who seek better service

9. Loss of revenue from sales not made

10. Accidents and increased risk taking

11. Disability and worker compensation claims

12. Substance abuse


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13.Suicide and murder

14. Increased use of available health

Care resources by the employee and relatives

15. Thefts from employers

16. Loss of security clearance

17. Nondeployment of employee to an overseas operation


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18.Lack of employee focus on the strategic goals of the employer

19.Greater use of EAP services, including those for spouse and child abuse

20.Employer time to deal with poor financial behaviors of employees

21.Loss of trained personnel


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Research by the Military Family Institute concludes that the direct and indirect costs to the Nnavy for poor personal financial behaviors of workers is between $208 and $294 million annually

The cost to the Department of Defense, an employer of 1.4 million, is about $1 billion annually


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New Research by Virginia Tech’s Joo Reveals:

  • 54% of average income workers in a sample of white-collar occupations are dissatisfied with their financial wellness

  • 30% feel they are always in financial trouble and 35% find it hard to pay bills

  • 51% worry about how much they owe

  • 44% do not set aside money for retirement

  • 60% do not have enough money set aside to live for longer than 2 months if they lost their jobs


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Reasons for Not Voluntarily Contributing to an Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plan:

  • 49% - do not have enough money

  • 34% - do not know enough about the retirement plan


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There is a growing national movement to offer financial education in the workplace, partially because so many workers are going to have extreme difficulty finding money for retirement


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Smart Employers Offer Comprehensive Financial Education That Helps Workers Make Informed Decisions About:

  • Employer-sponsored retirement plans

  • Other employer-furnished fringe benefits

  • Credit and money management

  • Consumer protection rights


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Smart Employers Realize Financial Education Is a Key Factor in Recruitment and Retention

The best workers are typically:

  • in control of their personal finances

  • contribute to their pension plans

    These workers are happier in their

    financial lives and it shows in their work


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Smart Employers Will Do Two Things

1.Provide employees with comprehensive financial education

2.Identify and help workers with money problems overcome obstacles to fully fund their retirement plans


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How Can Employers Help Workers With Money Problems?

Smart employers provide workers with non-profit budget and credit counseling and basic information on consumer protection laws

Why?

Such information empowers people to get out of difficult situations and avoid them in the future


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Two-thirds of workers with financial problems can improve their financial situations - with professional help - within about 12 months, and begin to save for retirement

Yet, fewer than 1/5 of large employers are offering financial education that includes emphasis on personal budgeting and credit management


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The Best Employers Will Meet and Succeed at Two Challenges:

1.Move from offering workers an average financial education program to providing a modelprogram

2.Partner with other organizations thatare currently helping people resolve money problems


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Employers Should Know That

  • It is not necessary for employers to get into the credit counseling business

  • Well-qualified, non-profit national providers of information on effective management of money and credit exist

  • Other experts can help workers avoid consumer rip-offs and frauds


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#1 Finding Money for Retirement

After receiving comprehensive financial education, a typical 45-year old married dual-earner couple with a family can findover $4000 a year to fund their retirement plans:

  • $300 a month by wisely choosing among employer-furnished fringe benefits

  • $80 a month by gaining control of consumer credit and managing money more effectively

  • $10 a month by avoiding consumer rip-offs and frauds


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#2 Finding Money for Retirement

After receiving comprehensive financial education, a typical 35-year old single worker can find over $2,500 a year to fund his/her retirement plan:

  • $170 a month by wisely choosing among employer-furnished fringe benefits

  • $60 a month by getting in control of consumer credit and managing money more effectively

  • $10 a month by avoiding consumer rip-offs and frauds


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Results of Implementing a Comprehensive Financial Education Program

  • Retirement education helps workers save for their retirements

  • Comprehensive financial education works even better!


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Employers Reap the Benefits

  • Very high participation rates in 401(k) plans (90+ percent range)

  • Reduced net cost of operations


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Workers Gain Benefits, Too

  • Increased financial wellness

  • Lower household debt-to-income ratio

  • Increased self-esteem and improved attitude about work

  • Increased satisfaction with employer-provided fringe benefits

  • Increased capability to participate in and contribute to retirement plans

  • Increased saving for retirement


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What Is the Cost of Providing Comprehensive Financial Education?

Between $75 and $455 annually:

  • Retirement planning ($30-$275)

  • Other employer-furnished fringe benefits ($25-$40)

  • Credit and money management ($10-$20)

  • Consumer rights ($10-$20)


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Return on Investment for Comprehensive Financial Education

Research shows that

it ranges from 3:1 to 10:1,

depending upon a number

of factors


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An Example Where the Benefit-cost Ratio Is 3:1

The employer gains $3.00

in value for every $1.00

spent on a comprehensive

financial education program

for workers


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Situation:

- 1,000 workers. Average salary of $40,000

- 60% participation rate in the 401(k) plan

- 20% participation rate in the pre-tax health and dependent care programs

- 15% experience personal financial difficulties to the extent that it negatively affects their job productivity

- $200,000 (or $200 per worker) invested in a comprehensive financial education program


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Results:

1. $125,000 - increased job productivity

from 100 workers who resolved money

problems

2/3 of workers who formerly had

money problems (150 workers x 2/3 =

100) improved their situations and job

productivity by 15 minutes per day

15 minutes = 3.13% of one workday

x $40,000 salary = $125.20 savings

per worker x 100 workers


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2.$80,000 - Reduced absenteeism

from the same 100 workers who no

longer take time off work to attend to

personal financial matters

2/3 of workers who formerly had

personal money problems (n=100)

now do not take 5 days off each year

to attend to money matters $800 a weekx 100 workers


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3. $12,000 - Reduced administrative time to process wage garnishments, requests for payroll advances, and 401(k) loans for the same 100 workers who formerly had personal money problems - $120 x100 workers


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Important!

  • The entire $200,000 cost of the financial education program already has been returned to the employer based solely upon the gains from the 100 workers who resolved their personal money problems

  • In fact, the employer is already $17,200 ahead!


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4.Increased job productivity from 200 workers who formerly did not participate in the employer’s retirement plan and now do contribute5.Increased job productivity from 150 workers who increased their contributions to retirement plans


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6.Increased job productivity from the majority of the remaining workers - 400 of 650 - who participated in the financial education program

7.Reduced social security payroll taxes on employers because 500 more employees utilize pre-tax health and dependent care


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8.Reduced stress-related illnesses

from alcohol and other substances

9.Reduced premiums for health care

10.Fewer accidents

11.Improved use of and satisfaction with fringe benefits


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12.Reduced human resource administrative costs

13.Reduced turnover

14.Reduced pressure to increase salaries


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15.Increased morale

16.Increased acceleration of employee retirements

17.Reduced exposure to future litigation


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A Positive Return on Dollars Invested in Comprehensive Financial Education

  • This illustrative 3:1 ratio is calculated by dividing the $651,050 in benefits by the $200,000 cost of the financial education program ($651,050/$200,000)

  • Note that comprehensive financial education is less expensive and more effective than the alternative of offering workers a 3% match


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What Is Virginia Tech’s Personal Finance Employee Education Effort?

The mission of the PFEE outreach effort is to host national conferences that demonstrate model financial education programs which motivate and enable workers to overcome obstacles to fully fund their retirement plans.


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  • At the time of this speech, Garman was Professor and Fellow, Center for Organizational and Technological Advancement, and Director of the National Institute for Personal Finance Employee Education, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061. Garman retired in 2000 as Professor Emeritus at Virginia Tech. E. Thomas Garman, Distinguished Scholar and Director of Educational Services, InCharge Institute of America, 1768 Park Center Drive, Suite 400, Orlando, FL 32835; E-mail: [email protected]; Phone: 407-532-5883; Fax: 407-532-5750; Web: InCharge.org


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