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Financial Literacy: The Unseen Backbone of Workplace Benefits

Phyllis Falotico headshot

By Phyllis Falotico

Head of Worksite Marketing and true believer that good financial health and well-being for today's working Americans begin with their workplace benefits.

Posted on: April 17, 2024

In the fast-evolving landscape of employee benefits, April’s designation as Financial Literacy Month offers a unique opportunity to reflect on how financial education can significantly amplify the value derived from worksite benefits. My intent in this post is to equip benefit producers and HR administrators with fresh insights, ensuring they can navigate the complex benefits environment with greater ease and impact.

The Vital Role of Financial Literacy at the Workplace
At its core, we know that financial literacy helps empower individuals to make informed and effective decisions through their comprehension of financial principles and concepts. In the workplace, this literacy transforms into the ability to discern the true value of voluntary benefits—a selection often overlooked due to its perceived complexity or the overload of benefits choices after selecting medical and dental coverage during enrollment period.

business professionals sitting around a conference table collaborating in a conference room surrounded by windows

Bridging the Gap with Group Whole Life Insurance
Consider Group Whole Life (GWL), insurance protection that transcends the death benefit. It stands as one of the cornerstones of comprehensive financial planning—offering the dual advantage of providing a death benefit and cash value accumulation over time, as well as a suite of living benefits. Yet, if HR administrators and the workforce do not have a solid grasp of financial principles, its significant contribution to financial health may be neglected.

A New Perspective: A Financial Literacy Event, Not Just an Enrollment Event
Envision a financial literacy workshop as a distinct event, separate from typical enrollment season activities that focus on transactions. Here, benefits producers and HR administrators become educators and advocates, not just facilitators—helping employees demystify complex financial concepts and better understand possible short- and long-term financial solutions that can meet their needs. Employees will also have an opportunity to reflect on their previous enrollment experience—considering what benefit choices were made, and the satisfaction with those choices—so they are more informed and prepared for their next enrollment.

The Ripple Effect: Beyond the Workplace
The impact of this approach on working Americans extends beyond the immediate workplace. More informed, financially literate employees make better decisions about their benefits, leading to potentially increased financial security and well-being. This, in turn, may contribute to a more engaged, productive workforce and foster a culture of financial awareness and independence.

By the way, if you wish to track how confident working Americans feel about financial well-being on an ongoing basis, MassMutual Worksite tracks those perceptions in a monthly Workforce Financial Stability ScoreSM. Why would you do this? Because it offers you dynamic insights that can help shape the ongoing development and targeting of financial literacy initiatives, as well as the appropriate considerations in constructing a complete benefits package. This approach also underscores the importance of a proactive stance towards financial education in helping working Americans understand and appreciate the value of their voluntary benefits—and fostering a financially resilient workforce.

Digital Engagement and Enrollment Platforms: Flexibility Meets Education
Versatile engagement and enrollment options play a key role. By design, today’s digital engagement and enrollment platforms cater to company and employee preferences for exploring and managing voluntary benefits. These platforms merge the ease of enrollment with educational resources, delivering a personalized and convenient experience. This approach empowers employees to navigate their benefits and financial education on their terms, simplifying access and enhancing understanding. Discussing how to meld the two together is a great conversation to have with your clients.

The Future of Voluntary Benefits and Financial Literacy
As we envision the future, the integration of financial literacy and voluntary benefits seems increasingly indispensable. Benefits producers and HR administrators who embrace this integration will not only enhance the attractiveness of their benefits offerings but also contribute to the well-being of working Americans.

Financial Literacy Month serves as a timely reminder of the pivotal role that improving financial acumen plays in tapping into the value of worksite benefits. By adopting innovative approaches and leveraging technology, we can transform how voluntary benefits like GWL are perceived and utilized. Together, let’s embark on this journey of transformation, helping pave the way for the future where financial literacy and voluntary benefits converge to create a more secure, informed, and empowered workforce.

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FOR FINANCIAL PROFESSIONALS. NOT FOR USE WITH THE PUBLIC.

The product and/or certain features may not be available in all states. State variations will apply.

Group Whole Life Insurance (GPWL), (policy/certificate forms MM-GPWL-2014 and MM-GCWL-2014, and MM-GPWL-2014 (NC) and MM-GCWL-2014 (NC) in North Carolina), is level-premium, participating permanent life insurance.

The GPWL policy and GCWL certificates are issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, Springfield, MA 01111-0001.