Underprepared for Financial Emergencies: The Urgent Need for Employer-Sponsored Savings Programs
By April Fowell
Tens of millions of Americans struggle to save money on their own, which gets difficult when they have to use credit cards for unexpected costs, accumulate debt, or risk having their homes repossessed. If a person's personal financial difficulties cause them to become anxious, less productive, or miss work, they may become an issue at work.
It makes sense that more companies are becoming aware of the difficulties with conserving money that many of their employees experience. Thousands of businesses already assist their employees in saving for retirement by offering 401(k) and comparable plans.
(Photo : by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Tens of millions of Americans struggle to save money on their own, which gets difficult when they have to use credit cards for unexpected costs, accumulate debt, or risk having their homes repossessed.
Employer-Backed Rainy Day Savings Programs
Numerous financial institutions, such as BlackRock, Fidelity, Mass Mutual, and the Sunny Day Fund, have created emergency savings initiatives. Certain systems, like SecureSave, encourage companies to provide their employees incentives, usually in the form of matching funds, as they also commonly do with 401(k) plans.
Modest enrollment bonuses and payouts upon hitting specific account balance milestones are examples of additional employer-sponsored incentives.
Although employees who join up for the service are free, employers pay fees to SecureSave. Employee funds are kept in partner bank accounts that are FDIC-insured.
The program's present yield, which is only 0.8% and subject to change, won't make anyone wealthy. However, the accounts will have served their purpose if they can encourage employees to save on a regular basis.
In a very competitive labor market, an emergency savings account can also help businesses attract and keep workers. When employees unexpectedly receive amounts like $400, $800, or $1,000 in their accounts, they attribute the credit to both themselves and their company. This, in turn, fosters a stronger psychological loyalty to their employer, according to one of the founders of SecureSave, Suze Orman.
Specifics of these initiatives differ. Through SecureSave, a company may match employee contributions to their emergency savings account, up to $100 to $200 annually. Additionally, employers may provide a bonus of, say, $50 to entice employees to join or upon meeting certain savings targets.
Although members in 401(k) plans are often able to borrow against their balances, this is not always a prudent course of action, particularly when utilized to cover small-scale, immediate needs. Furthermore, not all workers-particularly younger, lower-class workers who haven't yet adopted a savings mindset-participate in corporate retirement plans.
Devin Miller, another SecureSave founder, stated that the company is not aimed at persuading staff members to apply for credit cards, student loans, or other loans; rather, it is centered on saving money, in contrast to some of the other more recent emergency savings initiatives.
In a progressive move toward enhancing the financial well-being of employees, a growing number of employers are actively promoting the importance of saving for a rainy day. Recognizing the unpredictable nature of life's challenges, these forward-thinking companies are implementing initiatives to empower their workforce with financial security.
In response to this understanding, some employers are taking proactive steps to assist their employees in building a financial safety net. Companies are rolling out dedicated savings programs, providing employees with tools and resources to set aside funds for unexpected expenses.
Matching Contributions and Incentives
Several progressive organizations are going beyond conventional benefits by introducing employer-matching contributions and incentives for employees who actively engage in saving for the future. This not only cultivates a sense of financial responsibility but also strengthens the bond between employees and their workplace.
Related Article: Why You Need an Emergency Fund and How to Build One