Prudential is helping employees take on household debt through a partnership with the nonprofit GreenPath Financial Wellness, offering debt management tools and access to debt professionals.
“Our intention with this program is to help people holistically and get at the root cause issues that prevent individuals from being financially well,” says Vishal Jain, head of financial wellness strategy and development at Prudential.
Household debt grew to $14.15 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2019, from $13.54 trillion in the third quarter of 2018, according to the Federal Reserve. Managing debt can have a significant impact on an employee’s health and job performance.
According to data from Morgan Stanley, 78% of employees with high financial stress say it is a distraction at work. Half of employees say they spend more than they earn each month and 37% of workers say they have more debt than they can manage.
Prudential’s employer clients will be able to offer workers a free session with a certified financial counselor to establish goals and explore debt repayment options. For a fee, employees or members who participate can also choose to enroll in a formal debt management plan, which is designed to pay off outstanding balances in less than five years.
“This fits into the broader trend related to employers’ overall focus on employee wellness,” Jain says.
More employers have begun to realize that their employees are greatly concerned about their financial futures and are offering tailored benefits to meet those needs. Indeed, 36% of employers offer employees financial advice beyond the traditional retirement guidance.
Prudential is incorporating this new benefit into their already expanded current financial wellness offerings, which include solutions designed to help individuals plan for unexpected expenses and reducing student loan debt.
“This [program] is an important step in bringing to light the importance of financial wellness in the workplace,” Jain says. “We talk a lot about the importance of helping people save more for retirement or helping people use their workplace benefits to the best degree. This is a capability that gives us another tool to get there.”
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