It may seem far-fetched or like a dream come true, but the truth is, most employers want to help you pay off your debt. Employers are becoming increasingly aware that money worries can reduce productivity and increase absenteeism. More than half of the 1,600 full-time employees polled by accounting firm PwC in 2017 reported feeling stressed about their finances, and human resources company Mercer has estimated financial stress costs U.S. businesses up to $250 billion a year. So, yes, there’s an incentive for employers to help employees become debt-free, but it’s kind of a win-win situation.
Here are a few services your employer may offer:
Student Loan Repayment
While currently only 8% of companies are offering student loan repayment, it’s truly a way for businesses to recruit the top talent. Companies that offer an employer student loan repayment benefit often provide it as a monthly benefit — typically about $100 — over a certain number of years, or up to a lifetime maximum. The insurance company Aetna, for instance, matches full-time employees up to $2,000 per year, with a $10,000 lifetime maximum.
Some employers are investing in tools and software for their employees to help them manage their finances. Utilizing these tools can help you visualize your budget and track your spending in real-time.
Financial Literacy Courses
Financial literacy courses are the most common way that employers are offering to help their employees. While this isn’t directly going to pay down your debt, you should utilize these courses if they’re offered. It’s essentially free time with an expert on finances, and that is worth a lot. Make sure you get your questions answered about your debt and see what these courses can suggest for your unique situation.
Free Debt Counseling
This is a service typically included with an employer’s health care services but may be offered as a standalone benefit or bundled with other benefits as well. Paying for you to have time with a debt counselor is a great way to get an outsider’s opinion on how to tackle your debt.
Most employees learn everything they know about retirement from their employer’s retirement plan provider. This can be helpful but dangerous if you’re not investigating your future independently or with outside, unbiased guidance. Attending seminars about retirement funds and planning for retirement are vital to understanding your employer’s role in your savings.
Check with your human resources office about what debt repayment help they offer. These can sometimes be called Employee Assistance, Wellness, or Benefit Programs. If they do not offer any such programs, be sure to at least inquire about their 401(k) options and if they contain financial planning components. Just be cautious about product sales and things with high or unclear fees. You will want to know if your employer will match your contributions. Any programs that provide extra money from your employer toward your future are something you need to be aware of and utilize.
Are you ready to take the next step for your financial plan? Schedule a FREE consultation with me to learn how you can optimize your budget by clicking HERE.
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