When you are sick, you go to the doctor. When you need to have a will drawn up, you hire a lawyer. This is because advanced education and professional qualifications matter when it comes to navigating the most complex aspects of life – and the same is true when it comes to your finances.
You may not have thought about seeking financial advice at your workplace, but many companies today offer some form of financial coaching, financial planning or even financial advice – perhaps through a financial wellness provider, pension plan, employee assistance program or a credit counseling .
In fact, according to a Financial Health Network survey conducted on behalf of Morgan Stanley, 71% of employees are open to receiving personal financial support at work. With that in mind, ask yourself this question: Where do you turn when you make financial decisions, and could you use more support?
Financial coaching and the pandemic
In the midst of the pandemic, many companies have seen the effects of stress on their employees and found that a financial advisor in the workplace can help employees navigate this stress.
We all know that it’s much easier to get in shape with help – whether it’s through a fitness membership, a training buddy, personal trainer or a group class you love. The same goes for your financial health, but many of us are not sure where to turn for that source of extra insight and inspiration.
A recent report from Credit Karma found that many generations Z and millennials are looking at social media for financial advice on everything from budgeting to retirement, credit card debt to home buying – specifically social media influencers on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook. Most respondents even say that they simply take that advice at face value and run with it.
Deciding who to trust with financial decisions is a big step – especially because each of us has different needs to consider. What works for one person may not work for another, and this is an area of life where it makes sense to dig a little deeper and utilize any resources through the benefits of your workplace. Financial professionals are trained to not only understand how money and markets work, but also how to tailor financial planning to different individuals and their unique needs.
Where to go for advice
Working with a financial advisor can help investors improve their bottom line: According to Barclays, financial professionals can help investors avoid costly mistakes through emotional behavior traps or blind spots and even potentially improve return on investment.
That boost comes in part from a neutral third party providing disciplined, emotionally separated investment guidance.
A financial advisor brings a human element to the table to help clarify, define, and act toward goals – like a coach coaching an athlete. They can also tailor their guidance specifically for you, customize and fine-tune your financial plan along the way – whether you’re building your overall financial knowledge or exploring automated tools to help remove emotions from financial decisions.
Financial professionals through your workplace benefits may be able to help you in the following ways:
· Build a personal driver’s license as a budget and a savings plan that covers training costs or to work through your unique needs.
· Get the most out of your workplace benefits by helping you make more strategic decisions and take better advantage of your benefit programs – for example, by finding new ways to stretch your budget with discount programs or transit benefits.
· Support financially responsible self-care by offers a neutral third-party perspective to help you learn new ways to approach your money, reduce financial stress, and feel more supported.
Financial advisors can also help you get the most out of any other tools or benefits your employer can offer, such as free access to a financial planning app or website, basic investments, emergency savings with an employer match, or even student loan repayment programs. .
But whether you are taking advantage of financial advice through the benefits of your workplace or looking for a financial advisor on your own, take the time to do some research and make sure you understand how the advisory relationship works. Make sure your financial advisor is kept to high ethical standards, and make sure you are informed and familiar with the potential risks, costs, and trade-offs of working together.
Financial planning support through your workplace can help you identify your true needs, identify goals, and organize actions that make sense for you to move toward greater financial strength.
Krystal Barker Buissereth, CFA, is CEO and Head of Financial Wellness at Morgan Stanley at Work.
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