Financially Fit

Gain new insight into how you can help employees of all generations feel secure and prepared for their financial futures.  




How to Develop Financially Fit Employees Across the Generations

Financially FitAmid year-end stress and holiday harriedness, financial wellness is often pushed to the wayside. In fact, there’s never an easy time to tackle this topic, but it’s an important one to address in the workplace.

Tracy Edgell-Horvath, a Ceridian LifeWorks Financial Counselor, says, “When employees feel financially well, they tend to be more productive, less stressed and less distracted at work. Not to mention, they feel more confident about their financial decisions and are better prepared to retire on their terms.”

Financial concerns touch all of us. Results from a Workplace Benefits Report published by Bank of America and Merrill Lynch noted that even when enrolled in retirement and/or health benefits at work, 90 percent of employees have some degree of financial wellness stress.  Additionally, PwC found that 37 percent of employees say they spend three or more hours per week thinking about or dealing with personal financial issues at work.

Financial concerns across the generations

Employees in today’s workforce approach financial fitness from a variety of perspectives and with a variety of concerns and assumptions about the current marketplace and their futures. Below we address the financial outlook of each generation and offer tips for helping all employees address their financial challenges.


Top Financial Concerns

Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964)

Employees in this generation are closest to retirement, yet 53 percent are concerned about not being able to retire when they want, finds PwC. This, coupled with rising health care costs and the increased likelihood of needing additional medical care, can add financial burden. 

Gen X (born between 1965-1980)

Employees in the middle of their careers are faced with similar retirement concerns; however, they are in a good position to reevaluate their goals and investment options. 

The challenge for this generation is the mounting responsibilities of supporting both their children and their aging parents. Often referred to as the “sandwich generation,” employees in this age range feel a myriad of emotional and financial stressors that can interfere with daily life and work.

Gen Y / Millennials (born between 1981-2000s)

Millennial workers may be juggling paying off college debt while also managing growing monthly expenses. Many are first-time home-buyers or are paying expensive rent. Others are families with young children and increased childcare and health expenses. 

Additionally, the PwC survey noted that this generation’s top concerns include not having enough emergency savings for unexpected expenses, not being able to meet monthly expenses and being laid off from work – all concerns that affect their money management.


Ways employers can help

While financial wellness is an issue that affects all employees, understanding the unique needs of each generation is important. It’s helpful to remember that certain messages will resonate more strongly with each group. 

One challenge for HR leaders is minimizing any stigma a wellness program may carry. A survey from Jellyvision found that many employees have a negative view of employer financial wellness programs. One reason may be that by attending classes, others could perceive that person to be less financially secure. 

As you target your messages for each generation, evaluate the following ideas to promote financial fitness among your employees:

  • Consider automatic enrollment in retirement programs upon hire – make it easy for your employees to save
  • Provide helpful tools and calculators through your employee assistance program (EAP)
  • Offer confidential one-on-one financial counseling
  • Generate targeted messaging to help employees during life changes, such as when adding a new dependent or when getting a promotion
  • Market your benefits program to employees throughout the year and show them how to take better advantage of the financial wellness benefits offered
  • Promote other cost-savings measures, such as enrolling in flexible spending accounts

The complexity of financial wellness and the weight that it carries validates the importance of developing a sound and effective plan for helping your employees take charge of their money. By helping employees improve their financial health, you can empower them to tackle debt, build savings and be more focused and productive at work.

For more information:

  • Read our article on four employee approaches to retirement planning
  • Learn about financial wellness offered through LifeWorks