The Hot New Workplace Benefit: Financial Planning

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Apr 16 2015

It’s no longer enough for companies to just offer their employees a 401(k). They’ve also got to teach them  how to make the best use of these financial benefits, according to a new report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The number of large companies offering employees a financial education has increased significantly in the past year. Nearly three-quarters of plan sponsors believe that financial wellness solutions will be a standard part of benefits packages in the future.

Related: The 6 Times You Really Need a Financial Adviser

Among those surveyed, 70 percent of plan sponsors offer employee resources and educational tools to help with saving for retirement. Four in 10 provide guidance on planning for health care costs.

“Today’s plan sponsor must look beyond 401(k) enrollment and participation,” David Tyrie, Bank of America’s head of retirement and personal wealth solutions, said in a statement.

“As the survey underscores, there is a growing need for companies to consider their benefits offering more holistically and provide more comprehensive financial education and solutions that can address today’s challenges, such as managing rising health care costs.”

Related: The Secret Science Behind Doubling Your Money

The study found that 83 percent of employers have seen a rise in health care costs over the past two years. Some 60 percent of them have passed at least a portion of those costs along to employees.

But many employers believe their workers are not using health savings accounts to their fullest potential. Eighty percent of employers said they believe their employees view HSAs as near-term spending accounts – rather than as a way to acquire long-term retirement savings.

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