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  Tony Novak CPA LinkedIn profileContact: Tony Novak, CPA, MBA, MT
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Financial education programs are seldom offered despite strong interest

Despite strong interest from both employers and employees, relatively few companies offer financial education programs to their employees. The 2012 Workplace Benefits Report released by Bank of America Merrill Lynch reported these findings:

Employers are interested

  • 70% of employers feel a sense of responsibility for helping employees gain financial security.
  • 91% of employers who offer financial planning services to employees cite a desire to improve employee financial wellness as their #1 reason for offering the program.
  • The same proportion, 91%, of employers cite their 401(k) plan as the primary vehicle for helping employees achieve financial security. Yet almost half of these expect government regulations to reduce the effectiveness of 401(k) plans.
  • Only 39% of employers polled offer retirement plan guidance.
  • Only 21% of employers polled help educate employees on other financial planning issues like managing health care costs or how to maximize social security.

Employees are motivated to improve

Meanwhile, employees polled in the study report a strong interest in better financial planning and education.

  • Only 42% of employees feel that they are on track for a financially secure retirement.
  • 82% indicated that they would be willing to give up 5% or more of their current paycheck in order to attain financial security in the future.

The study did not explore the reason that employee financial education programs continue to be scarce. We suspect that the  available programs offered by firms that sell employee benefits and retirement plan services may be perceived as lacking independence and self-serving. Programs independent of the employee benefit plan sponsors are scarce in some locations.

About the Author: Tony Novak, CPA, MBA, MT, is a financial planner based in the Philadelphia area. He serves middle income professional and self-employed clients and has authored hundreds of articles on tax planning and related topics. He can be reached through his personal Web site at