Employers Respond to Health Care and Financial Legislation With Robust Benefits Education Programs for Employees

Oct 25, 2010, 10:07 ET from Financial Finesse

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif., Oct. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Financial Finesse, a leading provider of unbiased financial education, has formally announced today that it is expanding its services to include customized benefits education programs for existing and future clients. The addition comes from years of growing demand for benefits education from companies who are shifting the cost of major benefits onto their employees.

The company has been offering benefits education programs for years based on client requests, but has never officially marketed these programs as part of its offering.  This year, however, requests for benefits specific education jumped and the company's business shifted from 38% of engagements focused on benefits planning and education to nearly 60% of engagements, making it the majority of the business the firm conducts with its mostly Fortune 1000 clientele.

"When I launched the company, I had this vision of offering financial education with benefits integrated but not necessarily the primary focus," says Liz Davidson, CEO and Founder of Financial Finesse. "I'd like to say these new benefits education programs were a result of great vision on our part, but in every single instance, our clients have been the ones to request these programs rather than the other way around."

Davidson adds that the benefits landscape has changed dramatically over the last year—with more changes expected due to health care reform and recent financial legislation.

"Employees have been left to pick up the pieces," she says. "Trying to rebuild their retirement nest egg after cuts in their company match, declines in the market, and in some cases, pensions being terminated or frozen.  They also have had to deal with funding more of their health care and navigating through increasingly complex choices."

Judith Cohart, Executive Director of Personal Finance Employee Education Foundation, agrees.

"The new benefits paradigm is 'do it yourself'—employees are dealing with more responsibility to fund benefits that their employers once covered like health care and retirement. Fortunately, companies are responding with robust financial planning programs focused on helping employees make the right choices," she says. "Employees, and ultimately their employers, would be in a huge conundrum without this type of hands-on support."

Cohart adds that return on investment for these programs has driven demand from companies. Companies who have used them have seen significant increases in retirement plan participation despite cutting or eliminating matches, and have improved employee satisfaction with benefits.

"Both companies and their financial education providers who offer this type of benefits planning support are reporting results unheard of just five years ago," says Cohart. "I think there are two reasons for this:  1) Employees are hungrier for the education, largely because changes in benefits coupled with the recession have increased their focus on their finances and 2) financial education providers have improved their curriculum and deepened the guidance they provide."

Ira Finn, President of the Board of Directors of the Profit Sharing Council of America and Manager of Benefits for Komatsu America Corp, has seen this trend firsthand among his employees and from discussions with other PSCA Board members, who are retirement benefits managers at large companies.

"It's no longer enough to simply hand employees a benefits manual and expect them to understand all their options," he says.  "There are so many more decisions they have to make and now there's more weight on them to fund their own retirement and health care-- they need resources and lasting knowledge on how to maximize their benefits in order to do it."

About Financial Finesse

Financial Finesse is an unbiased financial education company providing personalized and innovative financial education and counseling programs to over 500,000 employees at over 400 organizations. Financial Finesse partners with organizations to reach goals such as reducing fiduciary liability, increasing plan participation, decreasing stress, and increasing productivity through its unique approach to financial education. Financial Finesse does not sell products nor manage assets.

For more information, visit www.financialfinesse.com.

Contact: Danielle Perry

Phone: (310) 802-6861

Email: Danielle.Perry@FinancialFinesse.com

SOURCE Financial Finesse