Archive for financial wellness

Heritage Institutional — September Retirement Report

Each month, our Heritage Institutional team publishes the Retirement Report, which provides timely news and updates for plan sponsors and fiduciaries of defined contribution plans.  This month’s topics include:

Q & A – Department of Labor defined “fiduciary” and helps you understand the regulations and how they pertain to you, your plan and participants.

Participant Behaviors — OneAmerica® providing insights in order to improve financial wellness.

Organizing Your Fiduciary File — Prepare your file in four key sections to keep everything organized.

Allowable Plan Expenses: Can the Plan Pay? — The payment of expenses by an ERISA plan (401K) defined benefit plan, money purchases plan, etc.) out of plan assets is subject to ERISA”s fiduciary rule.

To read the full report, click here.


Heritage Institutional — July Retirement Report

Each month, our Heritage Institutional team publishes the Retirement Report, which provides timely news and updates for plan sponsors and fiduciaries of defined contribution plans.  This month’s topics include:

On Stress and Financial Wellness, A Personal Perspective — Brad Knowles gives us his first-hand account of how focusing on his health improved his stress and well-being.

ERISA Fidelity Bond versus Fiduciary Liability Insurance — Plan sponsors often ask, “Is an ERISA fidelity bond the same thing as fiduciary liability insurance?” The answer is no, they are not the same. The two insure different people and have different requirements under the terms of ERISA.

I’m Too Young to Save for Retirement! — Too often, we hear the younger generation of workers tell us saving for retirement is not high on their priority list. It’s easy to understand why retirement may not be a main priority. However, what the younger generation needs to understand is that this may be the most crucial time to begin saving for retirement.

To read the full report, click here.

On Stress and Financial Wellness

by Brad Knowles, Heritage Institutional

Let’s talk about wellness. There is financial wellness, physical wellness, emotional Brad Knowleswellness, and probably a few other wellnesses that I need to learn more about. For years, we have heard people talk about corporate wellness programs: smoking cessation programs, weight loss programs, counting calories, and earning points for activities like walking or gym memberships. Some companies that have implemented these programs have seen significant decreases in employee absenteeism and health insurance premiums plus an increase in productivity.

Not too long ago my lovely wife said that she wanted to “clean up” her diet — to eat better and eat smarter. Like all good husbands, I volunteered to join her. She had spent a considerable amount of time researching exactly how to do this. We started our venture on the first of the month and planned to “eat clean” for 30 days without cheating. I will admit, I was shocked. The food was great. I had more energy than I could ever remember having ever. By the end of the 30 days, I lost two pant sizes. I felt like a new and improved me.

In the last few months, I have started to see articles and studies that are connecting financial wellness and nutrition. Financial wellness articles have regularly discussed financial hardship is a leading cause of stress. Stress causes us to trade our normal healthy lifestyle behaviors for much less healthy behaviors. Stress can cause depression, inactivity, unhealthy food choices, binge eating and drinking, and many other things. I never considered the cause and effect relationship between financial stress and health, but it is real.

In a 2015 study conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), they found that 72% of adults feel stress about money at least some of the time, and 22% experience extreme financial stress. When the stress is extreme, health suffers. Many respondents reported thinking about skipping or did skip doctor visits because of financial concerns.

Stress at home doesn’t stay at home. It invades every aspect of our lives like an unwanted house guest. It takes up mental and emotional space, it weighs a ton, and it grows like a weed. Many studies have reported that employees miss work due to financial stress. One study reported that 37% of employees in the study spent three hours or more thinking about their financial stress at work. When employees worry about their financial stresses at work, they lose focus and produc- tivity decreases.

Fortunately, Heritage Institutional has a new found focus on Financial Wellness. We are currently researching effective ways to help employees decrease their financial stress. A recent study of HR professionals said that 81% offer retirement plan education to employees, however, most do not provide any financial literacy training. We believe a solid retirement plan plus financial literacy education for employees is not only the smart thing to do, but the right thing to do. Stay tuned.