Financial Well-Being: Not Fun and Games (Except When It Is)

2-minute read

What can well-being program leaders do to help employees stave off financial stress? A lot, as it turns out.

When HES set out to create a gamified financial well-being challenge, it embraced a unique vision:

  • Leverage fun to empower and educate participants
  • Emphasize knowledge and personal development
  • Avoid common, manipulative techniques like scaring people (“You don’t have enough money for an emergency!”) or browbeating them to save by purchasing fewer coffeeshop beverages.

But as the challenge, called Right On the Money, counts down to launch, economic uncertainty is in the air whether we like it or not. Inflation is cutting into consumers’ purchasing power; 401(k) balances are lurching up and down; housing costs are surging; and college tuition has become a political football.

Wellness program leaders can’t change economic conditions. And most of us don’t have sway over reward packages — pay, health insurance, or retirement benefits — likely to have the most immediate impact on employees’ financial circumstances.

We can, however, help employees improve financial literacy, which research shows will ease financial stress and lead to better personal finance decisions.

Financial Literacy, Mental Health, and Well-Being

HES’s white paper, Employee Financial Well-Being Pays Dividends for Employers, synthesizes supporting evidence to make the case:

  1. Financial well-being is built on knowledge, skills, planning, behavior change, a financial reserve, and freedom from conditions that contribute to financial stress.
  2. Higher levels of financial stress are linked to more money management woes, eroding emotional well-being, physical as well as mental health, and relationships.
  3. Financial stress disrupts productivity, lowers employee engagement, and may increase healthcare costs.
Interventions Are Effective

An analysis of 76 peer-reviewed studies concludes that financial well-being programs work, enhancing financial literacy and the accompanying positive behaviors.

Read HES’s white paper to learn how financial stress, mental health, financial literacy, and the effectiveness of well-designed interventions are connected. You’ll also learn about the critical role of diversity, equity, and inclusion in financial well-being.

Right On the Money

HES’s Right On the Money challenge takes the often-intimidating subject of financial education and makes it fun. Players of all ages, income levels, and backgrounds learn at their own pace. Participants enjoy an interactive game on their desktop or mobile device as they build greater knowledge of personal finance, while gaining confidence to make smart money decisions.

Reinforcing the game experience are social components including teams, friends, a message board, and in-app messaging to drive engagement.

HR, benefit, and employee wellness managers can learn more about Right On the Money by watching the demo video.

A Northwestern Mutual study found 87% of surveyed Americans agree “nothing makes them happier and more confident in life than having their finances in order.” Check out Right On the Money to see how you can help employees navigate economic uncertainty and, on the other side, emerge ahead of the game.


Bob MerbergBob Merberg
Bob Merberg is an independent consultant with 20+ years in managing employee well-being programs. He specializes in helping employers increase engagement and health outcomes through innovative programs, communication, workplace environment, and organization development strategies. Bob’s well-being program evaluation results have been featured at wellness conferences and in various media outlets.

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