By Lee Sherman
In a post-Covid 19 work environment, companies are finding that it is even harder to attract talented senior executives. Many of the usual benefits, high salaries, comprehensive health care, and perks such as gym memberships have lost their appeal as employees take greater stock in work/life balance. Instead of returning to work in an office, senior executives are instead becoming consultants and entrepreneurs, or are accelerating their retirement plans.
But a new kind of benefit, financial planning, paid for and fully supported by the company, has arrived just in time for what HR departments are calling “the resignation wave”. For financial advisors, this is particularly welcome as companies are on the lookout for financial advisors with experience in helping executives with everything from maintaining a budget to planning for life events, including retirement.
Financial health is intrinsically linked to mental health. Research shows that people with credit card debt, low bank balances, a lack of emergency cash, and small retirement accounts are inevitably stressed about their daily lives and uncertain of their future. And this translates into less than optimal job performance.
The current job market has made it difficult for companies hoping to find qualified senior executives. Offering higher salaries is still one tool in HR’s quiver but at a time when the economy is still reeling from the pandemic, employers are afraid of becoming too top heavy by spending too much on senior execs while not properly addressing the needs of the rank and file.
What’s more appealing, for both companies and their top executives alike, is help in maximizing the wages they are receiving. Financial planning services are nothing new for HR but they’ve typically been offered in conjunction with other benefits such as 401(k) plans and are limited to portfolio choices.
Employees are more likely to adopt sound financial principles when they don’t have to foot the bill in terms of fees and other kinds of charges. And, instead of depending on retirement plan sponsors with a vested interest in selling particular plans, these financial plans are typically administered by fiduciaries In addition, the financial planning is more comprehensive, including such things debt management, estate planning, and insurance, in addition to just retirement planning.
Lunch and learn
Often this more broad-based financial planning is provided to employees in the same way other kinds of corporate information; online webinars (and yes, Zoom calls), brown-bag sessions and brief (from 30-60 minutes) 1:1 sessions. Remember, this is enterprise-level financial planning. Typically, employers pay on a per seat basis for each employee and it is usually provided by a wealth management firm rather than a solo financial advisor.
Taking advantage of this perk is certainly recommended for almost everybody. There is little downside and employees will almost definitively be left in better financial shape than they were before they started. High-net worth individuals with a family office or trust or those that started much earlier on their financial journey will want a more personalized service.
Lee Sherman is a contributing writer to MyPerfectFinancialAdvisor, the premier matchmaker between investors and advisors. Lee is an experienced journalist and editor with over 30 years of expertise with a significant history of writing in the personal finance and technology arenas.