Bridging the Racial Wealth Gap with Financial Wellness

January is Financial Wellness Month, and employers can play a role

January is Financial Wellness Month. Many people are inspired at this time of year to get their personal and professional lives in order, including their finances. Financial wellness is an important piece of building a secure and fulfilling life. Although money can’t buy happiness, a lack of it can cause a whole lot of heartache and keep families spinning their wheels.

We often talk about income in workforce development, but wealth and debt are just as important when considering the overall financial health and economic mobility of workers.

The racial disparities in wealth in this country are shocking and have a huge impact on racial equity across the board. According to the Federal Reserve, “the typical white family has eight times the wealth of the typical Black family and five times the wealth of the typical [Latinx] family.”

But there are things employers can do. In addition to paying well, of course, employers can offer employee financial wellness programs as part of their employee assistance package. These programs offer financial tools and services like loans, credit-building services, financial counseling, and other services that support employees’ financial resilience.

Employees who participate in these programs can reduce stress and improve their financial situation. They are better able to focus on their job because they aren’t worrying about how they’re going to pay the bills or build savings.

It’s a new year, and the Great Resignation shows little sign of slowing down. It’s a good time for employers to assess their benefits packages. Our step-by-step Guide to Employee Financial Wellness helps employers identify and implement the best program for their team.

Benefits such as financial wellness programs are part of designing a quality job and can contribute to closing the wealth gap. As we continue to navigate our way through the pandemic and disruptions in the labor market, let’s do all we can to set all workers on a path to economic security.

Amanda Cage

-- President and CEO, National Fund for Workforce Solutions