Exclusive Edelman Financial Engines Research Program Reveals Financial Workplace Benefits Can Have Measurable Impact on Employees’ Overall Well-Being and Preparedness

BOSTON, November 16, 2022 - Edelman Financial Engines, America’s top independent wealth planning and investment advisory firm,1 and the George Washington University’s Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center, today issued a comprehensive report that revealed how offering financial education resources in the workplace can play a role in boosting financial security and confidence.

Beginning in April 2022, EFE partnered with GFLEC to announce the launch and study of an innovative six-week financial counseling and education program called Fast Track to Financial Health, which was deployed to employees at Ford Motor Company.* The partnership’s goals were to gain insights into the baseline financial health of employees, provide them with valuable and targeted resources to address critical needs, and most importantly, measure the impact of that help on improving overall financial well-being.

“Financial wellness programs are one of the most important benefits employers can offer their employees. They can address important issues such as low financial literacy levels,” said Dr. Andrea Hasler, assistant research professor and deputy academic director at GFLEC. “The results of our research demonstrate that the comprehensive and targeted Fast Track to Financial Health program can advance financial literacy and confidence, which will support employees in building secure financial futures.”

The study found that after gaining exposure to EFE’s financial education resources, employees improved their financial knowledge and confidence, as well as their attitudes toward retirement planning and future financial decision-making. The report offers critical insights into employees’ willingness to improve financial behavior and shows that they have a greater eagerness to seek information or talk with a financial counselor before making important decisions in the future.

Additional key results from the report include:

  • Financial literacy levels and well-being among Ford employees exposed to the program are higher than the average American adult working population. However, the company’s most financially vulnerable employees (i.e., those with the lowest financial well-being) are middle-aged (35-54), Black Americans and Hispanics, with lower income and education and those lacking financial literacy.
  • Even before the intervention, existing users of EFE’s services showed better financial behaviors compared to those not exposed to EFE’s financial education. They save more both for precautionary reasons and for retirement; they make ends meet easily; and they are able to manage their debt well.
  • Being exposed to at least some of the financial resources during the Fast Track to Financial Health program provided by EFE improved employees’ financial literacy and confidence. Further, employees who engaged in the six-week challenge are more likely to adopt savvy financial decisions in the future, such as saving both for emergencies and retirement, planning for future expenses, looking for information before making large financial decisions, and asking for financial counselor advice.
  • There is a strong link between financial literacy and satisfaction with employer-offered benefits and compensation, as well as overall job satisfaction. Thus, offering workplace financial wellness programs could help with employees’ retention and overall satisfaction.

“Ford is at the forefront bettering their employees’ lives through financial well-being programs,” said Kelly O’Donnell, executive vice president at Edelman Financial Engines and head of its Workplace business. “Working together with Ford and GFLEC on this innovative research has helped us identify patterns that positively impact employee outcomes and highlight new opportunities to better meet employees’ needs. Most importantly, it further validates that delivering financial help through the workplace improves employee financial well-being.”

About the GFLEC methodology
To create a benchmarking mechanism to define and measure financial well-being the “Financial Health Score” was created. This score serves as the backbone of the Fast Track to Financial Health program, which consists of three essential steps that 1) take employees through an initial assessment to generate a baseline score; 2) provide personalized counseling and access to educational resources based on that score; and 3) assess the impact of this intervention with a focus on both short-term effects and future anticipated changes in financial decision-making. This work was sponsored by EFE. All findings are based on data from two comprehensive surveys collected in April and June 2022.

The Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center is dedicated to advancing research and solutions that open the door to universal financial literacy. In working toward that mission, GFLEC has positioned itself as the world’s leading incubator for financial literacy research, policy and solutions. GFLEC launched in 2011 at the George Washington University School of Business in Washington, D.C. Since then, it has pioneered breakthrough tools to measure financial literacy, developed and advised on educational programs, and crafted policy guidelines aimed at advancing financial knowledge in the United States and around the world. For more information on GFLEC, visit https://gflec.org/.

About Edelman Financial Engines

Since 1986, Edelman Financial Engines has been committed to always acting in the best interests of our clients. We were founded on the belief that all investors – not just the wealthy – deserve access to personal, comprehensive financial planning and investment advice. Today, we are America’s top independent financial planning and investment advisory firm, recognized by Barron's1 with 145+ offices2 across the country and entrusted by 1.3 million clients to manage more than $245 billion in assets.3 Our unique approach to serving clients combines our advanced methodology and proprietary technology with the attention of a dedicated personal financial planner. Every client’s situation and goals are unique, and the powerful fusion of high-tech and high touch allows Edelman Financial Engines to deliver the personal plan and financial confidence that everyone deserves. For more information, please visit EdelmanFinancialEngines.com.

1. The Barron’s 2023 Top 100 RIA Firms list, a ranking of independent advisory firms in its eighth year, is qualitative and quantitative, including assets managed by the firms, technology spending, staff diversity, succession planning and other metrics. Firms elect to participate but do not pay to be included in the ranking. Ranking awarded each September based on data within a 12-month period. Investor experience and returns are not considered.

2. Edelman Financial Engines data, as of Dec. 31, 2022.

3. Edelman Financial Engines data, as of September 30, 2023.

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