66% predict borrowing and debt management as main financial wellness driver for 2018


Two-thirds (66%) of employer respondents predict that borrowing and managing debt will be the main financial wellness driver for 2018, according to research by Nudge.

Its The financial wellness playbook 2018 report, which surveyed 205 UK employers, representing a total of 1,516,733 employees, also found that 92% of respondents believe that a financial wellness strategy is best delivered as an ongoing financial education programme combined with access to appropriate employee benefits.

The research also found:

  • 72% of respondents feel that levels of financial stress in their organisation are at the same level as 12 months ago, and 28% think it is greater than 12 months ago.
  • 65% of respondents predict being able to budget to live within income levels will be the main financial wellness driver for 2018. Other employee financial drivers foreseen for 2018 include affording childcare costs (57%), coping with the impact of Brexit on the UK economy (55%), saving towards financial goals (50%), and retirement planning (50%).
  • 30% of respondents already provide financial education, 17% are in the process of introducing it, and 49% are considering introducing a financial education programme.
  • 74% of respondents offer a workplace pension, but do not include it as part of an integrated financial wellness strategy, 77% do not integrate their childcare vouchers or support into a financial wellness approach, and 74% do not include their life assurance provision within a financial wellbeing strategy.
  • 94% of respondents believe that financial education should help employees better understand and manage their money, 71% think it should help communicate employee benefit options, 66% feel financial education is a means of better understanding their employees’ needs, and 52% think that financial education within a financial wellness strategy can help employees make more informed flexible benefits choices.
  • 85% of respondents view independence as important from a financial education provider, 83% want an inclusive provider, and 80% want accessibility, such as on-demand services, from their provider.
  • 73% of respondents view confidentiality as important from their financial education provider, and 68% think integration is important, to support their wider employee benefits strategy.
  • 77% of respondents think their employees require financial education on everyday finances, a further 77% believe their staff need education on savings, 77% feel their employees require financial education on debt and borrowing, and 74% think their staff need education around budgeting.

Jeremy Beament (pictured), director at Nudge, said: “In 2017, the financial wellness market exploded with pensions, engagement and wellbeing [as] the major drivers. Although it’s positive to see such widespread understanding of why there’s a clear business case to improve employees financial wellness, the gap between this aspiration and the support organisations currently provide, remains wide.

“A joined-up financial wellness strategy will comprise of a comprehensive financial education [programme] combined with access to relevant employee benefits. Each element should promote the others, cohesively making the strategy greater than the sum of the parts. Despite this, our research showed that [surprisingly] few organisations have created an integrated financial wellness strategy.”