early in april i found myself in las vegas to speak at the human resource executive health & benefits leadership conference. also speaking was carol harnett, my cohealth checkup co-host. we noted how prevalent the topic of financial well-being was over the course of the conference. this tracked with a growing focus on employee financial well-being among companies of all sizes. we decided right then, in this city not known for boosting one’s financial well-being, to dedicate a cohealth checkup series to the topic.
upon my return, i looked up definitions for financial well-being. there isn’t a lot of consensus, but the four elements the consumer financial protection bureau identifies cover the bases: feeling in control, having the capacity to absorb a financial shock, being on track to meet goals, and possessing the flexibility to make choices.
most of us tend to think of retirement readiness when we first think of financial well-being. so, we’re kicking off our series by exploring this behemoth task, a task the majority of us are failing at. no matter the report, the picture of retirement for U.S. workers is not pretty. according to a 2013 towers watson survey of over 4000 retirement plan participants, almost 3 in 5 U.S. workers are worried about their financial future. this could be because they don’t have a lot in their nest egg. the federal reserve data reveals the median balance of retirement accounts for those who are saving is less than $60,000. and a lot aren’t saving.
we invited laurie rowley, the co-founder and president of the national association of retirement plan participants (NARPP), to help us figure out how we got here and what employers can do to help their employees be better prepared.