Employee Financial Wellbeing Matters to Your Company

Employee Financial Wellbeing Matters to Your Company

By Danny Wilson, financial education program manager at Pinnacle Financial Partners

June 25, 2024

Do you know how many of your employees live paycheck to paycheck? Odds are high that several do. Nationwide, nearly  60 percent of Americans have no cushion and live with daily stress about paying bills. They’re not saving, not investing and could have their whole lives thrown into disarray by an unexpected major expense.

Is that a position you want your employees to be in? Are you confident they will be happy, healthy, and productive if they don’t have stable finances?

Financial wellness is everyone’s concern, especially employers. You are their main source of income, health insurance and retirement planning. That puts you in a great position to help. Doing so is caring and compassionate and, if done right, can help improve your business outcomes dramatically.

Several studies have tracked strong correlations between financial stress and absenteeism, loss of productivity, and impaired physical and mental health. Those who are worried about money miss twice as many days at work, according to one study, are more distracted when they are present and are more likely to have significant—and expensive—medical events.

This was one of the driving factors behind creating Pinnacle’s Consumer Mastermind program.

We built a learning series that lets us dive deep into the 12 essential topics that  contribute to overall financial wellbeing, from budgeting to saving, big purchases, insurance, taxes, retirement, and a lot more. We wanted to help people take a holistic view of money, how it fits into their life and how to build a healthy relationship with it.

Most importantly, we built the entire program from a place of empathy and through a trauma-informed lens. Money can be a very sensitive and triggering topic. Conversations about money, especially in a formal learning  setting, can easily establish a power dynamic that puts the teacher above the students, creating a space that doesn’t feel safe enough to be open and honest about what you need.

So instead of simply teaching “how to make a budget” and talking to people like children, Consumer Mastermind helps us examine the real-world barriers to financial freedom each person faces and how to overcome them armed with new knowledge and confidence. All of this is done in a comfortable, laid-back setting that feels more like a small group discussion than a traditional class.

This program has become a hallmark of Pinnacle’s community engagement work, particularly in our growing PEER Center network. We also work with our business clients to help educate their employees and give them an opportunity to build a better financial future.

Employers will often bring financial experts into the workplace to talk with or teach with their teams. They generally use an off-the-shelf curriculum designed by a vendor to meet the needs of a general audience. We decided to design our own because we’re passionate about financial wellness and its power to change lives and even make an impact on multiple generations. We didn’t see any existing programs that matched that passion, nor any that addressed the issue in the ways we felt  would be most effective.

Instead, we built on decades of experience and knowledge gained doing this work in the community and in our clients’ companies. What do people need to know? What’s prevented them from finding their footing? When those employees are our clients through group banking in the workplace, what’s their journey, and what kind of help do they typically need?

Launched in 2023 and piloted across 11 cohorts, Consumer Mastermind is gaining a great deal of traction across Pinnacle’s footprint. Demand is high from nonprofit partners engaged with the underserved and among our clients who often employ people who are underbanked and in need of a stronger financial plan. And research shows that a large percentage of high-income earners still live paycheck to paycheck and are as confused about certain financial matters as anyone else.

But to make it really successful, we knew it had to be free of any transactional pressure. Plenty of Pinnacle clients have taken part in Consumer Mastermind, but no one is  required to bank with us to participate. . There’s no cost to join, and it’s 100 percent free of any sales pitch. Many may choose to become Pinnacle clients after the fact, but that’s not the focus .

Research shows the cascading effect of broader financial wellness. It’s good for the individual, their families, employers, and communities. We at Pinnacle have always been strong believers in advice for its own sake because helping people with their finances is a win-win for everyone.