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Why finance brands should tackle financial wellness

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Financially fit

Given financial stress is weighing on the minds of billions of people around the world there’s a clear role for global finance brands to play in helping customers achieve financial wellness. 

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Two in five Australian workers are seriously worried about their finances, according to this January 2019 study by AMP. That’s a whopping 2.44 million people. In the UK, the stats are even more shocking, with 80% of workers finding it “impossible to get from one pay cheque to the next”, as reported by Cashfloat in March 2019. Meanwhile, in the US, money is the number one cause of stress — above health and family — as revealed by GlobalRock’s 2019 Global Investor Pulse study

It’s no surprise then that the pursuit of financial wellness is gaining attention. In fact, 53% of US companies now offer financial wellness programs to their employees, in contrast with just 24% in 2015, according to Bank of America’s 2019 Workplace Benefits Report

53% of US companies now offer financial wellness programs to their employees, in contrast with just 24% in 2015.

 

And, around the world, finance brands are thinking more and more about how they can help improve customers’ financial health — through empathetic, customer-driven finance content marketing. 

Finance brands, financial wellness and the workplace

Financial stress impacts performance at work. On average, employees who are worried about money take 2.4 extra sick days per year and spend an hour of their working week dealing with money issues. All in all, the problem costs Australian businesses around $31.1 billion annually, states AMP.

So, it makes sense for employers to invest in their employees’ financial wellness — and to enlist the expert help of finance brands. In May 2018, MetLife, a global insurance company based in New York City, launched PlanSmart® Financial Wellness, in partnership with EY. This holistic program for employees drives behavioural change — through phone support, in-person seminars and one-on-one consultations. There’s also a digital experience, which enables the creation of personalised plans based on specific goals, and provides a wealth of finance content.

A financial wellness revolution

When it comes to wellness, it’s pretty normal to hear people talking about eating right, hitting the gym and getting a good night’s sleep. The global wellness economy was worth $4.5 trillion in 2018, states the Global Wellness Institute

But conversations about financial wellness are far from mainstream. That’s why First Direct, a phone and internet-based bank in the UK owned by HSBC, has put normalising financial wellness at the heart of its latest finance content marketing strategy.

Launched in January 2020, the campaign invites customers to join a #moneywellness revolution — through multiple channels. Digital content includes the UK’s first Money Wellness Index, which First Direct created in partnership with YouGov by interviewing more than 4,000 adults, as well as social videos starring an eclectic collection of British people talking candidly about money wellness. Plus a blog post on the First Direct website offers an open explanation of the campaign’s motivation, “Money. It’s important. It makes life possible, which is why it can be one of the greatest sources of anxiety – we know we need to deal with it, but we don’t always know where to start.”

Making financial wellness easy

Financial stress can cause “feelings of overwhelming stress and panic”, as well as “low motivation, low energy and hopelessness”, according to Acacia Connection, a Sydney-based provider of employment assistance programs. So, if finance brands want to help their customers reduce stress, they should strive to make the process simple, clear and achievable. 

In Australia, this is already happening — through finance content marketing. Macquarie Bank’s ’30 days to financial wellness’ guide cuts through the complexities with daily steps, like ‘audit your wallet’, ‘move your mortgage’ and ‘salary sacrifice’. Meanwhile, ANZ offers MoneyMinded, a flexible finance education program that’s been completed by 667,000 participants, and MLC hosts the Financial Wellness Series, an online hub of educational and interactive content. 

Are you ready to help your customers find financial wellness? We’re here to help. Get in touch

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Jasmine Crittenden
Jasmine Crittenden has written extensively for major finance brands including Westpac, BT Financial Group, Suncorp and Aberdeen Standard Investments – across both digital and print. She’s an expert in content that puts the human element in finance marketing, be it connecting with local communities, inspiring millennials to care about super or clarifying the complexities of personal loans.