What comes to mind when you hear ‘April’? The start of the new financial year, perhaps!
April is the month when the new financial year starts and businesses plan their yearly fiscal target.
The employees are briefed, plans are created and all possible actions are taken to ensure that the year starts on a good note. What about financial wellness? Is it given any consideration when the new financial year starts?

What is the financial wellness month?

In foreign countries, January is considered to be the financial wellness month as this is the month when the new financial year starts. In this month, employers aim to make their employees financially healthy so that their productivity increases.

In India, however, April is the financial wellness month as the financial year starts from April. In India, the concept of financial wellness of employees is slowly gaining traction as multinational companies are bringing this practice to their Indian offices as well. Nowadays, the millennial employee not only looks at the salary package that the employer promises but other value-added benefits of employment. Among such value-added benefits is the concept of financial wellness and how employers aim to institute the concept in the workplace. Do you know what financial wellness is all about?

The concept of financial wellness

Financial wellness is defined as the financial health of an individual. An individual is said to be financially well if he has control over his finances and knows how to manage them and make them fulfil his goals. Financial wellness also signifies financial independence and is essential for every individual to achieve to lead a fulfilling life.

The concept of financial wellness month

In India, as mentioned earlier, April is considered to be the financial wellness month. The month of April marks the beginning of a new financial year and is thus, the best time when the employers can motivate their employees to plan for a healthy financial future.

Financial wellness month is a reminder to maintain healthy habits related to money management. April 2020 marks not only the financial wellness month of the year but also of the entire decade and needs to be heralded with fanfare.

Planning for financial wellness month by employees

Individuals can consider April to be a landmark in their calendars and take steps towards their financial wellness. Here are some things which employees can do to strengthen their finances and make April count –

Spending

Individuals need to earmark their monthly spending and create a budget. Unnecessary expenses should be cut down and the budget should be followed to ensure there is no unnecessary spending. Half the financial battle is won if individuals correct their spending habits. Spreadsheets, personal finance applications, etc. can be used to track and monitor spending and to weed out unnecessary expenses.

Saving

Saving is essential to create a corpus to meet the different financial goals of life. An emergency fund is a must for meeting certain unexpected and unprecedented expenses. Once an emergency fund is created, individuals should start saving for their short term and long term financial goals. Once the short term goals are saved for, savings for long term goals should be sped up to create a substantial corpus when the need arises.

Also read: How to help your employees save money?

Borrowing

Availing debt should be avoided. However, some debts, like home loans, are essential in fulfilling financial goals. Moreover, these loans can also prove advantageous in building up a good credit score, giving tax reliefs, etc. So, individuals should borrow only when needed and good loans should be given precedence over bad ones. Also, individuals should avoid falling into a debt trap. Any subsequent loan should be taken only when the previous loan is paid off or is nearing repayment.

Investing

Investing is an effective tool that can be used to build wealth and save for the future. There are several investment avenues available such as debt mutual funds, equity mutual funds, fixed deposits, National Pension System, RBI taxable bonds, etc. which can be of great help for individuals in the future.
Successful management of finances will not only make individuals feel that their finances are in control but also ensure their financial well-being.

 

Major activities which can be done during the financial wellness month 2020

April 2020 is round the corner and some serious financial planning should be done in this month to start the quest of financial wellness. Here are some activities which should be undertaken by employees and individuals to achieve financial wellness –

Writing down financial goals

What is the use of financial planning when there is no particular plan in place? Failing to plan is planning to fail and demarcation of goals is necessary if you don’t want to fail. The financial wellness month is the best time when employees can sit down and review their finances. Employers should motivate their employees to jot down their financial goals so that a proper financial plan can be envisioned to fulfill such goals.

Read: What is goal-based savings and how to achieve your financial goals?

Review of cash flow

Once the goal planning is done, the next step is to identify the cash flow. Individuals need to know their incomes and the expenses where the income is being allocated. This would give them a clear idea of how much funds they have at the end. This fund can then be channeled into investments for growth.

Investing

Once the amount of disposable savings is ascertained, it is time for investment. Investments are the only way to create wealth which would prove sufficient to fulfil the demarcated goals. Individuals should choose proper investment avenues depending on their risk appetite, investment horizon, tax planning and investment strategy.

Activities which employers can do this financial wellness month in 2020

Employees are the greatest asset of an organization and so, employers should promote the importance of financial wellness month among their employees.

Employers should be aware enough to drive the importance of financial wellness home for their employees. Thus, in this financial wellness month, employers can also take steps to ensure that their employees are financially healthy.

You might like to read: Financial wellness programs in India

Some of the major areas of financial wellness where employers can lend help in the coming financial wellness month include the following

Boosting retirement planning

It is a very common observation that most employees do not have enough savings for their retirement. If the employees are covered under the EPF scheme, they think that they are creating a sufficient retirement corpus. This might not be true. Since inflation is steadily increasing, employers should help employees create a considerable retirement fund. Employers can contribute to NPS schemes for their employees which would not only boost the retirement fund of employees, it would also give them tax benefits.

Providing group health insurance schemes

Employers should also provide their employees with group health insurance schemes which would take care of their healthcare costs and spare them the high medical costs.

If you are looking for a corporate insurance policy, you can work with the Koppr team.

Building the overall financial literacy of employees

It is a fact that in reality the financial literacy rate is quite low and employees do not wish to get into the nitty-gritty of finances. Employers must take initiatives to make employees interested in financial education and in improving their financial literacy rate. This can be done by providing employees with educational tools and materials related to financial benefits and wellness. There are various apps and platforms available which can give employees a clear understanding of the financial decisions they should take, any investments which they should make which would be profitable for them.

Personalized communication

Financial wellness month April 2020 can be used by the employers in developing personalized communication with the employees so that their benefits satisfaction is enhanced. Employers must tailor the financial educational tools to the specific financial needs of the employees. By personalized communication, a clear assessment of the financial needs of the employees can be done so that proper financial tools can be deployed by the employer.

Financial wellness surveys

Employers can use financial wellness surveys to help understand the financial health of their employees. You can provide incentives to employees to participate enthusiastically and record their answers. The answers can then be collated to find out the current financial health of employees and the steps which can be taken to improve it.

Take the employee financial wellness survey of India

Customized financial wellness programs

As mentioned earlier, there are various financial wellness programs available in the market which help an organization to boost the financial wellness of its employees. Employers should invest in such programs so that their employees learn about their financial health. Such programs also equip employees with the necessary tools at their disposal to achieve financial independence. Employers should ensure that the programs are customized to meet the needs of their employees. The programs can be customized by using the financial wellness survey and the answers recorded therein.

Read the complete guide to financial wellness for your employees

Conclusion

Ensuring the financial wellness of the employees at the workplace is a win-win situation for both employers and employees. Financially healthy employees would always be a great asset for an organization and an employer must try to remove all the obstacles which stand in between the employees and their financial wellness.
Well begun is half done and if the new financial year is started on a high note, the employees would be motivated and more productive. They would be able to handle their finances more effectively which would free them from financial stress. A stress-free employee is the best asset of the company with increased focus and productivity.

Thus, this financial wellness month 2020 can be used by the employers to implement some changes into the employee financial wellness programs, motivate employees to spend smartly and for giving the employees necessary tips on handling finances tactfully to have a successful financial year ahead.

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