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Do we discount financial literacy?

Financial Literacy month was just celebrated, but it seems to me we don’t put nearly enough emphasis on what financial literacy means. In a nation of debt and a tendency to ignore budgets or financial planning, we do very little to prepare individuals to manage their finances. And then we express surprise when individuals get in over their heads or companies go bankrupt.

With inflation and rising prices, it’s understandable that many people struggle to pay their bills. And there are certainly situations that make staying solvent virtually impossible. But as a society, we’ve also failed to provide tools that may help make life a little easier and potentially keep some people out of financial trouble.

What type of financial education do you provide your employees? Is it limited to retirement plan education maybe once/year? Do you provide information at onboarding as to how to read a paycheck (especially for positions for newer generation workers)? And how do you present the education? It’s vital information for employees who are subjected to social media influencers who appear to “have it all” with little effort.

If you offer a “Budgeting for Dummies” class, how many employees do you think will show up? What if the same class was called “Maximizing your finances”? How you present the information matters.

Many students come out of high school or college with no sense as to how to budget. They don’t understand the repercussion of taxes or deductions on their paychecks, and what it means if deductions are pre or post tax. Providing basic information at onboarding can help there. In addition, having someone speak to budgeting tips and tricks and what it means for lifestyles and savings, or teaching about investment basics can be great information to provide.

We talk about employee wellness and we need to do a better job there overall. Financial wellness is a vital part of that. Financial stress is very real and often negatively impacts our employees. We need to do what we can to help.

Provide financial education to your staff. It’s a good thing to do!

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