How does the year of the Dog in the Chinese Zodiac Calendar, and financial wellness fit together?
A dog usually signifies happiness, lasting memories, a faithful companion that will always be there to give you love. Ironically, The Year of the Dog in the Chinese Zodiac, has a different interpretation, implying that you will experience more ups and downs than usual. It cautions not to be overly nervous, because you can implement changes to reduce negative outcomes, such as pulling together a plan to avoid potential problems. In addition, it discusses that people, and their loved ones, will be more prone to accidents in their lives (incidentally, my daughter just cracked her hip while playing soccer). Finally, it stresses that people with businesses need to be prepared, taking things into their hands rather than putting it into the hands of CHANCE or FATE! Unfortunately, most of us have apathy, choosing to do nothing, make a litany of excuses, or just procrastinating rather than doing something about it. Like the year of the dog mentions, we have the power to take action, or suffer the consequences!
This seems like a perfect endorsement for American Financial Literacy Institute’s mission to promoting positive financial changes, empowering people to feel better about making decisions with their money. Our hope is that we can, while reducing stress, increasing productivity, and impacting personal well-being. Financial turmoil ruins marriages, relationships, and destroys families. Also, studies are suggesting that companies are losing as much as $450 billion dollars a year in lost productivity, workplace distractions, stress-related medical costs and employee absences due to concerns over money. With the enormous negative impact that financial stress was costing companies and people’s well-being, and that so many people were entering the workplace financially uneducated, AFLI found that the best place to start teaching money management was in the workplace. In fact, a Better Quality of Life Financial Consulting report indicated that over 87% of employees desire financial education and access to professional help. We learned quickly from our workshops for many companies and municipalities such as Coconino and Yavapai Counties, that our goal was delivering a program and experience that provides unbiased financial education, informative content and materials, and access to professional guidance and coaching. Unfortunately, many companies feel that offering a benefits program, or a possible 401k is their solution to helping employees with financial education. We also realized that many employers, management, H.R. directors have enough on their plates already, so saddling them with pulling together a financial wellness initiative is just too much to bare. However, our approach had to be so much more than just addressing a current benefits enrollment or what investment option people should chose in their retirement savings plan. For example, a 2017 CNBC study found that over 81% have no idea what to save for retirement, or Forbes discussing that over half of 55-year-old Americans have no retirement savings at all! Regrettably, most people don’t have any feel for what they should be doing with their money, or pulling together a game plan.
AFLI is on a mission to help people make money decisions that are in their best interests, discussing a comprehensive program from the basics of understanding your money, solving the insurance maze, investing 101, and the fundamentals of retirement and estate planning. It isn’t simply teaching about how to manage your checkbook, but promotes habits that will allow individuals to realize their financial goals, protect against unforeseen events, and create a strong financial foundation. As a matter of fact, financial education is a benefit that can have a lifelong impact on employees. In a 2013 ING benefits study, over 72% of employees experienced reduced financial stress by participating in an employer-based financial wellness program.
Like the Year of the Dog, life will have its ups and downs. You will have financial challenges that you can simply let happen, or you can take action to change the outcome. With some knowledge and proper planning, many people could eliminate many money woes by simply taking action. AFLI is doing that by educating people and getting them to feel good about the decisions they are making with their money. Fortunately, AFLI has already done most of the heavy lifting, and partners with your company to implement an educational program that teaches your employees effective money management skills. We work to make a positive impact on your employees’ well-being. It is guided by a very simple belief that what’s good for your employees is good for business! After all, there is no reason that the dog has to bite, when a little bit of training can make a world of difference!
AFLI works with various companies all around Coconino and Yavapai county and like the dog we are extremely loyal to our clients. Unfortunately people these days seem to be content with not knowing, the “if I don’t think about it it can’t hurt me” mentality. Because of that there are hundreds of instances where people are ruined financially due to an accident or a health related incident, and they could have been easily avoided had they had proper education about their financial options. If you can teach an old dog new tricks, you can teach your employees how to be smart with their finances and their future.