To combat workplace stress, more companies beef up benefit packages to include financial wellness

Posted at 4:10 PM, Apr 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-27 14:20:33-04

Living paycheck-to-paycheck and struggling to save for retirement is the reality facing millions of Americans. Those money worries in our personal lives can and do spill over into the workplace.

Companies across Northeast Ohio are offering more than just health, vision and dental plans. Employee wellness now includes financial planning.

"Am I saving enough? Am I in the right accounts? Am I managing my debt?" Deena Rini says she often asks herself these questions. “It adds stress to your day."

Rini's employer, Oswald Companies, recognizes the negative impact that stress can have while she and her colleagues are on the clock.

"You're not giving 100% to your day job," said Rini.

Adding to benefits

That's why the Cleveland-based insurance brokerage firm recently added financial wellness to its benefits package.

"We really hope to have our employees really have a better state of mind as it relates to their mental well being," said Marty Guastella, of Oswald human resources.

The free online resource is handled by an independent company to protect employees’ privacy.

"A lot of people feel uncomfortable sharing that information internally," Guastella said.

Financial advisors help employees come up with plans to tackle their current debt while also funding their future.

"If I can do that and plan more effectively and manage my financial well-being I'm going to be healthier at the end of the day psychologically as well as physically," said Guastella.

Budgets and debt

So far, about half of Oswald's 400 employees have taken advantage of the new benefit.

"Whether it is budgeting or your debt or things of that nature and this program really encompasses all of that," said Rini.

Rini said the support helped her realize she could make some changes to her student loans. Thanks to her financial advisor she's now paying less on those loans each month.

“You see that money come out every month and it's like am I in the best position?" said Rini. "I'm refocusing that money and establishing a greater retirement account for myself for down the line."

Less stress 

Rini said she is now not as worried and more focused at work.

"There's enough stress in the workplace as it is, right? There's enough that we deal with every day. Why should we have one more?" Guastella said.

Right now, Oswald is working with several large employers in Cleveland, and across the country, looking to roll out similar programs.