Whether you’re a school district superintendent or one of its newest teachers, the idea of giving and receiving financial education in the workplace may seem new and puzzling. Yet studies show that fiscal education programs benefit employers and workers alike. Here’s why your district should consider offering such programs as part of a regular benefits package.
What Is Financial Literacy?
Simply put, financial literacy (sometimes called “fin lit”) is the body of knowledge that allows individuals and organizations to make wise financial plans and decisions. The journey to acquiring personal financial literacy begins when you open your first bank account, typically as a young adult. It involves everything from balancing your first checking account to creating a will, and it’s incredibly important for positive life outcomes.
Who Should Provide Financial Education Programs?
Unfortunately, high school and college curricula don’t provide much education on this topic, despite the fact that adults make some of the most impactful financial decisions of their lives around age 18. Some of these include opening credit card accounts and accepting student loans and other financial aid. Instead, many people patch together fiscal guidance from parents, friends, or bank messaging—and their own mistakes. Learning financial lessons the hard way can make it difficult for young teachers and staff to minimize debt and build long-term wealth.
That’s why it’s so important that school district employers offer information about finances. After all, employers are the source of most people’s largest portion of income in any industry. Today, 80% of American employees are in demonstrable need of financial education, yet only 63% of their work organizations currently offer it.
Helping nonprofits helps the community
Many of us have seen how hard it can be for families in times of crisis, both natural and human-made. Whether you are giving on Giving Tuesday or not, it’s important to support nonprofits that do good work in our communities. When someone needs help, they turn to local nonprofit organizations for support.
Benefits of Financial Education for Employees
The adage that knowledge is power is perhaps truer nowhere more than in money matters. A better understanding of finances benefits employees in the following ways:
- Helps workers cut costs and build savings. Major companies who already provide financial education have seen employees save thousands of dollars in a relatively short amount of time. School districts may be able to see similar benefits among their staff members.
- Empowers employees to create better futures. Learning how to save, spend, budget, invest, and pay off debt gives teachers and district staff the ability to significantly improve their life outcomes. They can support families, plan for retirement, and pass on valuable fiscal knowledge to future generations.
- Provides essential life skills that parents and schools have largely failed to provide. Millennials and slightly older generations are particularly likely to have slipped through the cracks of systemic financial education, without which they cannot prosper in life.
- Is a non-intrusive way to help workers improve the outlook of their personal lives. Ultimately, every adult has to take the steps needed to make good financial decisions, but teaching employees how to do this is a benefit beyond a simple paycheck. It helps them reach peak performance not only at work, but in society as a whole.
- Reduces stress, allowing for better focus at work and in personal life. Often, the mere uncertainty of not knowing whether they’ll be able to pay bills, support their children, go on vacation, or retire can cause immense stress for teachers and other school employees. Knowing what steps to take to optimize personal finances helps reduce employee anxiety, which means they’ll have more headspace for work and other areas of life.
Benefits of Providing Financial Education for Employers
Although some superintendents and principals may raise an eyebrow at allocating extra time, money, and effort into providing financial education programs for their staff, such programs benefit the entire school district in the long run for these reasons:
Providing financial education boosts productivity and savings. It reduces employee stress, boosts productivity, and cuts healthcare costs. Conversely, when it is not provided, four out of five employers notice that their employees’ fiscal situations cause enough stress to have a negative impact on their work.
- A fiscally educated workforce results in less absenteeism and higher company profits. Studies show that organizations can profit by up to $450 per employee per year as the result of fewer missed work hours and improved financial behaviors.
- Providing education and assistance with debt improves employee retention. This is particularly true in the case of student loan debt, and providing related fiscal services is becoming increasingly popular with even midsize employers.
- Financially literate employees appreciate their jobs (and their district administrators) more. Educated teachers and staff have a better understanding of their benefits and, therefore, a better appreciation of their employers’ efforts to create high-quality jobs. This encourages loyalty and a good word-of-mouth reputation in terms of how a school district treats its staff.
- Improves employee discipline. Education that helps staff members make good saving and budgeting decisions also translates into better planning and decision-making at work. Understanding finances encourages business acumen and critical thinking in other areas.
- Improves employee flexibility and adaptability. Teachers and staff who feel confident and secure about their financial outlook are not only more focused and relaxed at work, but also more likely to adapt well to changing workplace circumstances.
Most Popular Topics in Financial Education Programs
If your district decides to offer them, you may find that financial education sessions are more well-attended than you had anticipated. Some of the most popular topics that concern employees include the following:
- Retirement planning (by far the most popular topic)
- Investment asset allocation
- Health and life insurance
- Beneficiary designations
- Estate taxes
- Wills and trusts
- Income tax penalties on early withdrawals
- Income tax withholding
- Debt, credit, and budgeting
Get Help Providing Financial Education Services to Your Employees
Foundation 99 partners with school districts, government organizations, and non-profits to bring financial guidance to employees. Our goal is to help empower communities with access to the financial tools and resources they need to achieve financial wellness. We know this is not an overnight process, so our Financial Coaches work on creating a long-term plan customized for each individual. All services are provided at no cost to individuals.
At Foundation 99, We believe the best way to create lasting change is through education and mentorship. Our personalized learning model incorporates one-on-one meetings, workshops, seminars, learning modules and other resources centered on key initiatives. These include encouraging and building consistent financial habits, maximizing every dollar, bringing banking to the unbanked, and providing opportunities to access economic solutions.
We can achieve financial education for the 99% with your help. Your donations will provide us with more resources to reach out to more employers so they can provide financial education to their employees through our financial wellness tools and coaches. Contact us today!