Every night, I get Google Alerts with various key words about bankruptcy, debt, credit scores, etc. I know, sounds exciting, right?
Well, last night, I got an alert about a CNBC article titled, “Got Debt? Your boss wants to help with that.” I got excited because I talk about financial stress in the workplace ALL the time and the fact that it costs employers $7,000 per year per employee in productivity (I even wrote a white paper about it). I read the article with great hope but ended up feeling that like so many previous articles, that this one too missed the boat.
The article misses the basic point that many of the employees face current stresses and need quicker solutions to the day-do-day problems they are facing. Talking about budgeting or 401k options is great but won’t help someone deal with a child’s student loans or the stresses caused by buying a house they can’t afford. Financial stress is not about budgeting or picking the right 401k options! Financial stress is not about inviting financial advisors into the workplace for a free lunch and learn so that they can get your information and sell you insurance products! Financial stress is figuring out how to deal with a wage garnishment on your new spouse or a collections lawsuit or what to do with an IRS tax lien because you are behind on taxes or all three at once. Then, there’s the student loan situation. No amount of budgeting will pay off $200,000 in student loans on a $40,000 salary.
No one talks about options. No one explains the various legal scenarios that may help an employee find a path to resolve a difficult situation. No one goes through why taking multiple 401k loans may be a bad idea. It’s all focused on budgeting and basic financial education. Basic financial education is not helpful when someone is in crisis mode. Basic financial education is helpful BEFORE someone gets in that situation. Statistics show that more than 50% of Americans are beyond the point where basic financial education is even helpful to their situation. More importantly, it’s isolating and dismissive of their actual problems. Employees are not going to be motivated to hear about things they know they should be doing but can’t do until they resolve THEIR BIG ISSUE. On top of that, since no one else is talking about their REAL debt and credit problems, they think they are the only ones with this type of problem. They couldn’t be more wrong.
Instead of addressing the problem, employers are doing everything they can to ignore the elephant in the room. Buzz words like “Financial Wellness” and “Financial Literacy” and “Financial Well-Being” are used instead of talking about the actual problems employees face.
Wake up, Employers. If you really want to help your employees become more productive, help them find the right tools so they can solve their problems and get back to work.
Here is the link to the actual article. If your company is looking for a great way to improve the bottom line and help employees, Jen Lee Law, Inc.’s Employees Are Assets™ program gets down to the root of the problem so employees are happy and the company can thrive.
This is just a basic overview and is not legal advice specific to your situation. If you have questions about your rights when it comes to debt and credit, you should speak with an attorney in your area for legal advice. If you live in California or North Dakota and would like to speak with Jen Lee Law regarding your situation, please schedule an appointment.