This year was off to a great start with news of a dip in inflation hitting the headlines. After a high of 9% inflation in June 2022, Americans enjoyed some relief in December when the inflation rate declined to 6.5%.1 Yet sadly, inflation continues to be a challenge for many due to continually rising prices on everything from groceries to quality housing to all manner of goods and services.
Consider this new statistic: Not only are more Americans relying on credit cards to pay bills and take care of day-to-day expenses, but 46% (up from 39% just last year) carry balances on at least one card from month to month.2 It appears that paying off credit cards in full is becoming more difficult, which has huge implications for struggling families.
We know this financial backdrop may be taking a toll on employees. But know that, there are valuable ways you can “show up” for your people. When you lead with compassion and provide access to financial services and resources, you better equip them to weather whatever lies ahead. Remember that an employee who feels in control of their finances can be more capable of being present in the workplace.
Better Planning at Every Age, Every Stage
To meet staff wherever they are in their planning for the upcoming year, it’s important to understand what may be on their minds (or what may not).
As you know, a person’s age and life stage can greatly affect their relationship with money, planning for the future (or emergencies), understanding of concepts like good versus bad debt, and overall grasp on the lifestyle they can afford.
Younger Generation Goals
Debt forgiveness is an opportunity to get ahead financially, not fall further behind.
Younger employees should consider focusing on creating a realistic budget and tracking expenses; learning to live within their means; and making regular payments to student loans, car loans, and other existing debt. Some “zoomers” may be transitioning off their parents’ health or car insurance, and cell phone plans, and will need to account for these additional higher-dollar expenses.
There’s been a lot of buzz in the media lately about student loan forgiveness, which may impact several age groups. With respect to federal loans and suspended payments, according to Portico Financial Planning Manager Brooks Rankin, it may be wise for borrowers to continue making payments anyway to lower balances, or to redirect monthly payments to savings in the interim. Looks like an opportunity for younger employees to start saving for retirement!
If you offer an employer match, now’s the time to promote this perk because it can make a huge impact on the bigger picture.
On the other end of the career spectrum, many are carefully, longingly eyeing retirement. Unfortunately, senior employees have experienced market turbulence on a deeper level in recent months and likely feel some uncertainty about how this upcoming life change will actually pan out. They’ve worked hard their whole lives and faithfully contributed to retirement only to see market downturns meaningfully reduce their account. But those nearing retirement, too, may still have time on their side.
Employees of any age can contribute up to $22,500 to a 403(b) plan plus $7,500 for individuals ages 50 and over.
More Financially Fit with Fidelity
Remind employees that they should consider aiming to increase retirement contributions annually by 1%.
Financial wellness is critical to our overall well-being. At Portico, we’re here to help equip your greatest assets — the people — with the knowledge needed to achieve greater financial freedom.
There’s immense value and financial wisdom in Fidelity’s online resources, and they’re available at no additional cost. Employees of all ages will benefit greatly from Fidelity’s overview on financial wellness as a starting point.
Help restore confidence among employees of all ages and life stages by highlighting Fidelity’s additional financial wellness resources at their fingertips on:
- Finance basics: budgeting, debt, and saving
- Navigating college
- Making a major purchase
- Getting married
- Buying/selling a house
- Starting a family
- Preparing for retirement
- Caring for aging parents
- Loss of a loved one
Finally, Fidelity also provides access to an easy-to-use Budget Checkup Calculator tool that offers tips on finding additional savings, retirement planning, and short-term financial goals, upon completing a short survey.
There’s immense value and financial wisdom in Fidelity’s online resources, and they’re completely free to use. Employees of all ages will benefit greatly from Fidelity’s overview on financial wellness as a starting point. Or, they can schedule a free consultation anytime with an experienced Fidelity Retirement Planner at 1.800.343.3548.
No matter the financial circumstances, there are ways to take meaningful steps toward financial wellness at any time of the year!
1U.S. Inflation Rate. ycharts.com. Retrieved January 18, 2023, from https://ycharts.com/indicators/us_inflation_rate
2Dickler, Jessica (2023). Americans Lean More on Credit Cards as Expenses Stay High. CNBC. Retrieved January 24, 2023, from https://www.cnbc.com/2023/01/10/americans-lean-heavily-on-credit-cards-amid-inflation.html
3Minsky, Adam (2023). Here’s What You’ll Pay and When You’ll Get Student Loan Forgiveness, Under Biden’s New Plan. Forbes.com. Retrieved January 23, 2023, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamminsky/2023/01/11/heres-what-youll-pay-and-when-youll-get-student-loan-forgiveness-under-bidens-new-plan/?sh=6a10f6856663