RGA provides quarterly updates on global product developments, which can be made available upon request. Click here to view the Q3 2018 digital newsletter.
Wellness is not just a physical state of well-being
Financial wellness is a state of financial well-being. The elements of financial wellness include having a strong financial foundation, little or no debt, an emergency savings fund, the ability to live below your means, and a financial plan for the future. Financial wellness is one of the three pillars of wellness, the other two being physical and mental wellness. One’s financial wellness is influenced by age, financial literacy, level of education, and geographic location.
Mobile apps prove to be great learning tools for teaching the basic building blocks of financial literacy. Children can be taught the basic concepts from as young as five years of age. A large global insurer has a financial education platform aimed at primary school students. Children learn the concepts of earn, save, spend, and donate. The program has reached more than 300,000 schoolchildren in nine countries. A major insurer in the U.S. offers a free financial education program for middle and high school students, who make choices related to real-life scenarios in order to achieve important saving, job planning, and budgeting goals. Universities offer apps that suggest ways for students to live on a shoestring budget; tips include how to eat for free, buy or borrow cheap textbooks, and entertain friends without spending a penny.
Large insurers in the United States are starting to realize the importance of financial wellness to their customers. They now offer apps that can help customers set financial goals and earn rewards points. These platforms offer advice that addresses financial issues across generations, from taking out and paying off a student loan to the preparation of a will. For example, iGrad Enrich is a financial wellness platform that holds financial resources in one place. WellnessPath is another tool helping customers determine their financial score after completing a quiz.
Some employers offer financial wellness programs as part of their employee assistance programs (EAP), in which financial counseling is offered to employees who run into difficulties managing their credit and debt. Employers also offer programs which include tools and calculators to help workers gauge their financial wellness; plan for retirement and optimize their Social Security benefits; and obtain access to financial advice/advisers. A retirement plan program called My Learning Centre offers a digital education platform with more than 20 distinct modules covering topics from credit card debt to estate planning. One insurer’s PlanSmart Financial Wellness program offers an integrated digital solution allowing employees to create a financial wellness plan based on their needs and goals. BestLifeRewarded is also a personalized wellness reward program.
For those over 65, retirement is no longer seen as a time to put one’s feet up, but rather as a time to explore and take up new hobbies. To help people prepare for a post-work life, a large global insurer offers a program called FutureYou. Another such tool is Picture This, which helps employees to visualize their goals, and includes an interactive feature that facilitates a financial health check.
Employers are realizing the value of comprehensive financial wellness programs that address their employees’ specific needs. In the U.S., the return on investment on such programs is estimated at $3 for every $1 spent1.
Seminars on financial wellness are even offered to seniors; financial exploitation is the fastest-growing form of abuse to this population. Topics covered include defining financial abuse, how to recognize it, and what support services are available. The people exploiting seniors are usually family members, such as adult children or even grandchildren.
As we rapidly progress towards a cashless society, it is important that we look closely at our financial behavior and recognize that wellness encompasses more than our bodies. A number of insurers are starting to respond to this expanded definition of well-being. Similar to how insurers try to promote better lifestyle choices by rewarding healthy behaviors, they are also encouraging better financial choices through programs and technologies that help customers navigate this critical aspect of their lives.
Stay tuned for future releases of our quarterly newsletter to see where the next innovations will take us.