Think of things you’re used to evaluating and buying in your everyday job: software for payroll, benefits and HR; collaboration suites; invoicing and payment tools. These all tend to come bundled, and for good reason — they work better together and save you on costs. For businesses, trying to force a hodgepodge of independently priced tools together is a recipe for frustration and wasted money. And as it turns out, the same thing is true for your employees when it comes to financial wellness benefits.
Smart leaders want to help employees with financial wellness because it helps employees lead better lives. It’s also proven to benefit business. But for either of those things to happen, the tools that promise financial wellness needs to be effective and easy for employees to use — and they need to be affordable, instead of just another service that dings them with fees.
Even customers report that for every $1 they’ve invested in the program, employees have saved over $7 in fees and interest they would have paid to other financial services.
Everything Even offers your employees to build financial wellness — tools to save money, pay bills on time, build budgets, and avoid predatory loans — can be found and individually purchased on the open market. And that can really add up. When used independently, products equivalent to features within Even’s platform could cost your employees as much as $668 per year. But Even’s solution, which contains everything employees need to make progress, costs under $100. We’ve seen that with our customers, for every $1 they invest in the Even program, employees saved over $7 in fees and interest that they would have paid to other financial products. Here’s how this all breaks down:
There are a handful of ways for employees to get fast cash in a pinch, but they can be expensive — even predatory — and can severely worsen employees’ financial situations. Payday loans for example are an unfortunately common product, with 12 million people per year taking out at least one payday loan. That means it’s pretty likely your employees are using payday loans, and losing a lot of money in the process: The average borrower ends up paying back $793 for a $325 payday loan.
Even has an on-demand pay feature called Instapay, which falls into the earned wage access (EWA) category of products. EWA gives workers a way to access money they’ve already earned at work, but haven’t been paid yet. EWA is a critical tool for employees in financially vulnerable positions — it empowers them to meet the demands of cash-flow emergencies using their own resources, instead of payday loans that former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Richard Cordray has described as “debt traps.”
Instapay lets employees get paid on demand for the same flat fee that also gives them access to other financial stability-building features. This makes on-demand pay not only a far more inexpensive solution, but a significantly less perilous one as well.
Budgeting is nothing new — the options range from dividing cash up among labeled envelopes, to desktop software, and of course an entire new-ish breed of apps for mobile phones. Even falls into this last category; the Automatic Budgeting feature in our mobile app that automatically tracks employees income, bills, and spending, helping them understand what’s “okay to spend.”
Employees who pay the flat monthly fee for Even get access to all the Even features, including Automatic Budgeting. But standalone budgeting apps can cost from $3 to $6 per month1 — that’s $72 per year, just for budgeting. Building and sticking to a budget is, of course, a crucial component of financial wellness — but it’s only one component. To get everything else they need, employees need to invest more time and money into finding, paying for, and using disparate services.
Of course, many people are used to accessing various modern budgeting services that don’t charge a fee. But there’s a catch that explains why some of these products are “free” while others cost $72 per year: Some of the services earn significant revenue per user by advertising credit cards and personal loans to their customers. These offers become yet another distracting element of an already-complex personal finance landscape, and could tempt employees into taking out loans that may not be in their best interest.
Much like budgeting, saving money isn’t a new concept and there’s no shortage of ways for employees to build savings, whether it’s round-up features or a traditional checking-and-savings account combination. The problem is that saving accounts cost on average $5 per month; checking accounts come in at around $8 when you take into account fees for overdrafts, non-sufficient funds, ATM and account usage fees, and monthly maintenance fees. Overdraft fees are the biggest way workers lose money with these accounts, and according to a Pew study, the majority of overdraft revenue comes from households earning less than $50,000.
There’s also the simple fact that saving money using traditional methods is simply very difficult. Mental models, biases, and other aspects of human psychology make it objectively hard for your employees to save money. Researchers agree that modern, low- or no-cost approaches offered by employers are much more effective. Findings like these are behind the design of Even’s Automatic Savings feature that enables employees to set custom goals and funnel part of their paycheck directly into an account designated for building savings.
Leaving employees to fend for themselves using traditional approaches to saving money could cost them up to $60 per year and fail to produce substantive progress. Offering them a solution to save money — that’s bundled with other tools to budget, save, and access wages on-demand, for one flat fee — will help them build true financial wellness.
The most innovative and admired companies in the world know that prioritizing workers is a smart investment — and that includes helping employees with their financial wellness. But pointing employees to separate solutions and wishing them the best of luck isn’t going to cut it. For workers to make real progress, at a price point that doesn’t hinder that progress before it can even begin, employers need to consider a solution that takes a smart approach — not just when it comes to features, but also when it comes to pricing.
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