Employees with children may be at more risk of financial stress due to the additional costs and time commitments related to raising a family. FP Canada’s 2021 Financial Stress Index found that 65% of Canadians with children living at home said their financial stress led to the reduced ability to be productive at work, health issues, relationship problems, and family arguments. This was significantly less than the 47% of respondents who didn’t have children, and found their financial stress was having negative impacts on the same areas of their lives.
The impact of stress caused by personal finances is far-reaching, and it affects not only the workplace, but also the home environment and relationships. When an employee is dealing with issues at home and within their relationships, they are even more distracted at work. Financial stress can become a vicious cycle, further reducing workplace productivity as it grows.
Since the problem is wide-reaching, it’s important the solutions are too. As you review your existing resources, or consider bringing in a financial wellness program for your team, look for programs that allow family members, such as their partners/spouses, older children, and even parents to access resources too!
Ensure pricing includes family access 🤝
Even if you already have a program in place, go back to your provider and inquire about family access to their program through your contract. Ideally, you want to see the cost of this extension to family access included in the current pricing.
If you're in the process of searching for a program, or already in negotiations, make sure you get family access included in your contract. Ask what family access includes. Ensure the family has full access to all resources, except any that are specifically related to something only employees should have (there would be rare instances where this is the case).
For example, if there was some sort of financial or time-off incentive for program participation, or completing milestones that applied to employees only, that content shouldn’t be exposed to family members as it’s not available to them.
Also, understand any limitations and the definition of family. Does it only extend to a spouse or partner? Do they have to share a login? Is the material appropriate for older children to access, and from what age? Can parents of employees access the program as well?
Open programs to employees of all ages 👥
Sometimes employers restrict access to retirement education to older employees only. The thought is they should prioritize these resources for workers that are closer to retirement. But, the reality is that it takes 30 to 40 years to properly prepare for retirement. So preventing employees from accessing important retirement information when they are younger can cause undue harm to those employees.
Example: Employees need to understand how assets being saved within RRSP and TFSA accounts will be taxed when they start saving for retirement. Not exposing employees to important education on taxation of withdrawals from these accounts can cause them to make choices in their early working years that could reduce their retirement income, and they will not be able to undo these decisions later in life.
Some employers assume that younger people aren’t as interested in their finances. But that’s not true. Canadians under the age of 35 are twice as likely as those who are aged 35+ to believe that building a financial plan would reduce financial stress. Inversely, some may think that older employees don’t need to learn about debt and spending. After all, they should have that all figured out by the time they inch closer to retirement. Right? But far too many Canadians are retiring in debt. So don’t assume that age relates to financial education needs. Keep all resources open to your entire team, regardless of their stage of life.
Incentivize employees to engage family in financial wellness 🧲
Just as you have to make sure your employees are consistently reminded about their financial wellness program, you also need to ensure they know how to access it, and that it’s easy to find. The more use they make of the program, and the more comfortable they feel sharing it with their family members, the more likely they are to reduce their financial stress. This will have a positive impact on their work. Consider incentivizing family members to use the program. One idea could be to provide ballots to a prize draw for every family member who signs up to the financial wellness program within a certain time frame.
Our finances affect our entire lives. In the current economic climate, most employees are undergoing financial pressures, which only increases the risks of being distracted at work. Don’t underestimate how that stress can expand to the family, creating even more stress and distraction for your employees at the workplace. You’ve worked hard to attract and retain your talent. Don’t deplete their abilities by failing to do all you can to keep financial stresses under control.
CacheFlo is a financial education company that builds eLearning and tools to help financial professionals and individuals make behaviour-based changes, which allow them to get more life from their money. We want to make it easier for people to predict the impact of their financial choices before they make them.
About the Certified Cash Flow Specialist (CCS) program
CCS professionals go through enhanced cash flow-based training to develop the skill set to deliver behaviour-based cash flow advice. They start the financial planning process with a cash flow plan to genuinely help their clients get more life from their money.
About the Financial Capability Program (FCP)
The FCP combines quick and practical lessons with tools, including Winton, which helps people make financial changes they can stick to. Users can apply what they've learned to their financial situation, thus bridging the knowing-doing gap. The goal of the FCP is to help people get more life from their money.