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Live Life... Leave a Legacy

Video by Brent Hines transcribed below.

Hi there. I'm Brent Hines, Cofounder and Chief Development Officer for the educational nonprofit, Foundation for Financial Wellness. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3). We're headquartered here in the Denver, Colorado, area. We have been delivering our classes, our counseling, and our coaching literally across planet Earth for over ten years now.

So you might ask, well, what is financial wellness, exactly? What does that mean?

Financial wellness is not a financial product. It is not a financial service. Financial well-being is a journey literally through our entire lives. There's no getting away from money and our relationship with all things money.

We're the financial wellness partner of the National Wellness Institute. They've been around for decades, and they’re a gold standard in the wellness space.

NWI has a model that they call the six dimensions of wellness. It is a great illustration of someone's total well-being. Their six dimensions are:

  • Occupational
  • Physical
  • Social
  • Intellectual
  • Spiritual
  • Emotional

As you think through each of those six, there isn’t one of those that lives free of financial wellness impacting that dimension either positively or negatively. Money runs throughout our entire life, from youth until our last day on Earth. It must be addressed. If it's not being addressed, that includes our relationship with money, then it may be running amok.

So, this literally impacts, we refer to as all ages and stages through life. It's personal, often it's the stages of someone's young and just getting started. They may need to get rid of some debt. They need to learn how to harness income. They need to learn how to begin saving. They need to get a mindset around. How can I empower others with my ability to handle money well and have a really healthy relationship with money? What about all of those insurances in life? Which of those apply to me, don't apply to me? How about retirement planning, investments, my 401K, brokerage accounts, mutual funds annuities, stocks, bonds, all of that component when we're saving, accumulating, and building more wealth so that someday when the income spigot gets turned off, we then begin living off of our savings and maybe our employer retirement plan and then maybe Social Security benefits.

Financial wellness is impacting us literally throughout all of our phases of life, even into those end phases where we refer to those phases as the Life and Legacy classes that we teach. I love living on that end of the spectrum because you really get to see people be introspective and look back on life and think about what legacy that they want to leave. And rarely does that mean, "How much money can I leave my loved ones?" There's so much more to it than that.

So, who should engage with the Foundation for Financial Wellness? Anyone interested in improving their relationship with money, blessing others with how strong of a relationship that they might have, or maybe just people who are ready for defining their values, defining their purpose, their financial purpose in life, and then building a plan that is in alignment with those values, and those goals, and that Life and Legacy that they want to leave.

 

Let's Connect.

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Retirement Well-Lived

Video by Brent Hines transcribed below.

So why did we choose to get inside of the retirement community, if you will, as a marketplace? Well, the easiest answer is it's being underserved.

The folks that are in that space right now tend to either be financial services, just trying to advance their career or build their book of clientele as good hearted as they may be, you just can't change the fact that they're showing up with their firm name on their shirt It's difficult to remove that non solicitous, unbiased, no endorsement whatsoever approach that we take. Because we're a nonprofit, we can do that.

We're there to teach, and we're there to help create healthy behavior changes. And financial stress comes in all shapes and sizes. So, people who are living in these retirement communities, even though they may be demographically age wise down the scale, down the road a bit, the stress and their needs and the questions and the education that they're really looking for and the healthy behavior change that needs to happen to improve lives- it's going to be all over the board.

We're building a series of topics from, of course, the things you might expect around a retirement investment portfolio or retirement income planning- we call it “Dancing with Uncle Sam”. It's a set of classes on taxes and not overpaying in taxes today, and/or in the future. We have a class that we love called “Executor Bootcamp,” and the idea behind this class is it's either you as the estate holder or you as the named Executor- it's going to speak to both parties.

These are oftentimes really awkward conversations to have alone or ourselves.

To have a trusted nonprofit come in with expertise in this area and facilitate conversations that otherwise aren't being had at all or being discussed very awkwardly is of extreme value. And then, of course, a set of topics that we're teaching called “Life and Legacy” and all things, not just estate planning from wills and trust and powers of attorney, and that sort of thing, of course, that's important- but [we discuss] all the less tangible items as well.

Again, being the “Sherpa” in that conversation, being that facilitator, and giving people a framework to have conversations and make really good decisions, create some order, have some conversations that they weren't going to have otherwise- you can just see relationships strengthen and again, healthy behavior change happening. People making decisions to improve their lives and the lives of their loved ones, oftentimes their adult children. It's just in our DNA and our culture. We love to help. We can laser focus on these issues for this stage of life that they're in. Again, financial matters, financial well-being is much more about behavior than it is about the X’s and O’s of finance. And if you want to really understand and master the behavior, you got to take a step back and look at what's happening between our ears, our relationship with money, how we think about these things and just having this outside energy source come in with a template to talk through.

These matters are just extremely helpful and something that we can't wait to bring into the market.

 

Let's Connect.

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Solutions for Seniors

Video by Brent Hines transcribed below.

Well, the reason for this conversation today is this set of programs that we are building and will be rolling out in the very near future that are intended for the needs of people living in retirement communities and their loved ones.

From the start, the Foundation's purpose has been to improve life skills, and oh yeah, that includes money skills!

As we said prior in our conversation that the six dimensions of wellness, there's no getting away from money. There's no getting away from- If we're talking about financial, well-being, that cannot live in a vacuum. It must live in collaboration with, and integration with all the other components of living well.

We are a 501c, a not for profit. We feel that's a differentiator and important to where organizations, communities, we got our start in the employer space, so HR professionals would bring us in to teach employees. We began in reaching out into affinity groups and associations, many churches, faith-based organizations, to come in and really help people with that total wellbeing approach of improving their relationship with money.

Our goal from the start has been to improve lives, and we can do that through our knowledge and know-how of helping families do better with their money by changing their thinking and beliefs and relationship with money, and then defining what are the things that really need to be done, & aligning those with their values and their goals, then talking about- Okay, great. Now how do we carry that out?

So not starting on the other end of the spectrum, let's talk about financial products- What's a stock, what's a bond, what's an annuity, what's a mutual fund? We feel like that is starting on the wrong end of the equation.

As we have been having more and more conversations with professionals AND families who are in the retirement living communities, it seems pretty obvious now, it's more than just the property, or more than just the building. It's about, truly, that community and being an anchor, or a safe place to come and learn without the fear of being sold, some kind of financial product or service. Not to throw the financial professionals under the bus, but I don't blame an operator for not bringing in the local financial adviser. There's just too much liability of the perception that you're endorsing them and all of that. We really feel like we're going to fill a big void here and just be a blessing to people inside of these communities and to the communities themselves that want to add value to their residents and the families around them.

Just having a better financial footing is better quality for everyone's life.

 

Let's Connect.

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4 Questions About Risk We All Must Answer

This world is full of risk. Some risks are worth taking. Others are not.

Also, risk comes in many flavors and variations - physical, emotional, relational, professional, or financial.

In the financial world, we hear the talking heads associate “risk” with “return”. In essence, if we are 100% risk averse, we will experience very little opportunity for growth. However, we might be willing to take on large amounts of risk with the hope of large upside potential.

Well, not everything is black and white in this world, and people do not always act rationally.

Distilled down to everyday language…each of us has different goals, preferences, and fears.

Please understand, we’re not here to tell you or your employees what specific risks you should mitigate or what insurance policies you should own, but rather, we want you and your people to be well-informed, know the right questions to ask, and be able to put a plan in place that is tailored for you and your families.

Regarding financial risk, there are 4 critical questions that you and your employees should all have answered: 

  1. What if you get sued? - You’re right to be worried. There are over 100 million cases filed each year in American courts, and there are only 330 million people in the United States. You do the math. In less than 4 years’ time, there are as many court cases filed as there are citizens of the country. Conclusion…”Cover your assets!”
  2. What if you become sick or hurt? - This is an often-underappreciated topic. Take a moment to think through what next month would look like financially if your paycheck stopped. According to Bankrates Financial Security Index, only 39% of us have savings over $1,000. So, even needing to take just a week or two off without pay could lead to devastating financial consequences.
  3. What if you die younger than expected? – In our youth, we were invincible and would live forever. Now as adults with families we love and care for, it’s not unusual for us to begin contemplating, “What if I die before I ever get a chance to grow old?” Forgive me for being Mr. Downer here, but over 40,000 Americans died in car crashes last year alone! Add to that the risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer and so on. If you were to die unexpectantly, what would that do to your family financially?
  4. What if you need long-term care at some point? - The Alliance Health Policy research shows that 58% of men and 79% of women aged 65 and older would need long-term care at some point as they grow older; it’s expensive. According to Genworth, in ten years, the cost of one year of care will cost between $60,000 and $130,000. If we don’t have a plan for this, the assets we worked so hard to save and build will be wiped out, rather than going to your family.

If you want to learn more about how to help you and your employees manage risk, contact us at the Foundation for Financial Wellness.

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Out with the Budget; in with Alignment

Shame, guilt, and judgment have no place in the development of your employees’ financial well-being. Would your people rather I try to shame them into living on a budget, or would they rather we have a two-way conversation about aligning their personal values with their vision of a successful financial future? Yeah, me too.

Budgeting, debt elimination, and emergency cash are all foundational pillars of financial wellness. However, it seems everything we’ve heard from the talking heads on this topic falls in the “How” and “What” categories and runs right past the “Why.” The alignment of our thoughts and behaviors with our values creates the nearly magical place where our lives are carried out with purpose and intentionality. Once your employees find this untapped power source, the budget, debt elimination, and emergency cash will happen. And get this…they’re actually going to like it. They’re going to demand it! It’s no longer a best practice or principle. It’s a way of being that comes from their most meaningful reasons.

There are endless templates, software, and ideas on how budgets should be built. We have our favorites at the Foundation for Financial Wellness, but whichever your people decide to use, it must be a zero-sum budget. Meaning, you must “spend” every dollar on paper before the money hits your account.

Debt elimination is an interesting topic. We teach two types of approaches: 1) Mathematical approach, and 2) Behavioral approach. The mathematical approach would have you pay off your debt in order of highest interest rate (most expensive) to lowest. This is logical. The behavioral approach has you pay off your debt in order of smallest balance to largest balance. This is emotional. The emotional brain gets the chemical release quickly by knocking out the smallest first, then builds momentum by rolling those payments into the next debt item, and so on.

The vast percentage of people we have taught through the years prefer the behavioral approach, and for good reason. “The best approach is the one you complete!” Not to mention, it was emotion, not logic, that got us into the consumer debt, so likely, it will be the power of the emotional brain that gets us out.

Finally, the third component of the financial trifecta, is emergency cash. There is nothing sexy about this. Then again, there’s nothing sexy about an Ambien either, and it’s debatable which one helps you sleep better at night.

If you want to learn more about how to help you and your employees budget, eliminate debt, and build up emergency cash, contact us at the Foundation for Financial Wellness.

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Living a Life of Legacy

According to a study from AARP, 83% of Americans have at least some form or fashion of a plan for death. This is really a surprisingly high number given that somewhere around only 50% of baby boomers even have a simple will.

However, we pose a very different question...rather than asking what percentage of Americans have a plan for death, why aren’t we asking what percentage of Americans have a plan for living? 

A plan for living is called Retirement Planning...a plan for dying is called Estate Planning...combining them both is called Life and Legacy.

It’s critical for both employees and employers to define your purpose and the “why” before building your plan. Whether you’re selecting financial products (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, real estate, etc.) or adjusting your existing plan, setting an intention will alleviate stress and anxiety when it comes time to make a decision.

If you and your employees have a rock-solid purpose defined, then it will drive the design of your life and legacy plans because it will be all about your unique needs and goals. Here are a few key points for you and your employees to consider as you plan for a prosperous future.

1. Beware of the Silent Assassins- Taxes & Inflation!

Our financial lives can be broken down into 3 different phases:

  1. Accumulation
  2. Spend-down
  3. Legacy

Think of it as taking on the challenge of climbing Mt Everest. The Accumulation Phase is like the ascent, the Spend-down Phase like the decent, and the Legacy Phase is the stories told about it for years to come. For all phases, it’s important to have a tax balance approach. This means we’re paying attention to the tax consequences of our decisions today and in the future. Where are tax rates today in comparison to where we believe they will be in the future? Additionally, putting the money aside (aka savings) is the biggest hurdle, but once we do set it aside, can we really afford to put it under a rock for the next 5, 10, 30 years? The answer is no, and the longer the time horizon, the more important each percentage rate of growth matters. Don’t forget, use the Purpose – Planning – Product philosophy as your compass.

2. Daydream a bit – what will that first day of retirement look like?

Let that inner-child out right now and dream out loud for a bit. What does your ideal first day of retirement look like? What time does the alarm go off (or does it at all)? Where are you? What scene do you take in while sipping that first cup of retirement coffee? What will you wear that day; flip flops, boat shoes, ski boots, or are you barefoot? What color is your house, what’s the weather like, and who’s with you? How are you feeling?

Seriously, dream about it and write everything down. OK, this is fun and all, but what’s the purpose of all this warm and fuzzy feeling stuff? A budget- a retirement budget.

Hopefully, we’re already living by our budget now (if not, START today!) It is very difficult (and probably unrealistic) to build a retirement budget out of thin air and expect it to be accurate. Yes, our retirement budget is best built on the foundation of our pre-retirement budget. Some expenses will go away entirely, other expenses may go up (hopefully some fun ones!) and some new expenses that we’ve never had prior may need to be added. Regardless, the budget in retirement is mission critical. It should be aligned with your vision and values, and it becomes your playbook for what are hopefully the most joy-filled years of your life.

3. Start Talking

Share these dreams, plans, and wishes with those most important to you. For whatever behavioral and emotional reasons, we tend to suppress way too many of our feelings, visions, and desires around money. Take a few people out for coffee and share your new approach to building the life and legacy of your dreams. At bare minimum this means your spouse, your executor, your beneficiaries, your pastor, your financial planner, and your accountability coach. There are many reasons why this makes good sense. Just to name a few…take your executor to an Executor’s Boot Camp (offered through the Foundation for Financial Wellness) and get them in shape.

Additionally, it’s great to begin speaking these wishes into reality; your accountability partner will love to know what’s on your heart and help keep you on track. And one last one, would be the old load bearing truth of “If you want to master something, try teaching it.” As you begin putting spoken words to your heart-felt “why”, you’ll begin to find holes in your thinking, gaps in your assumptions, and misunderstandings from your loved ones.

Wouldn’t you rather work on these things now, rather than leaving it up to interpretation once you’re gone?

Employers and employees alike, if you’d like to learn more about creating life and legacy plans, please fill out the form below

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Is financial anxiety impacting employee productivity?

Money management is one of the biggest silent struggles employees could be facing. Because financial stress is often viewed as a personal matter, it is among the last reasons supervisors or managers consider for low employee productivity, but data proves otherwise.  The 2021 PwC Financial Wellness Survey interviewed 1,600 full-time employed U.S. adults, 63 percent say their stress about finances has increased since the start of Covid-19.  According to the survey, these individuals are twice as likely to take out a loan from their retirement or postpone retirement all together.  

As an employer, offering financial wellness programs enables employees dealing with money dilemmas to get the critical support they need for personal and professional growth.  

 “Creating a safe space for employees to share their experiences with financial management and learn real-world techniques to change behaviors as it relates to money not only improves the individual, but the workplace,” said Brent Hines, Chief Development Officer at The Foundation for Financial Wellness.  

The most valuable financial wellness program for any organization has the following criteria:  

*Bullet points*  

Foundation for Financial Wellness is an educational nonprofit that provides financial wellness courses and counseling to empower individuals to achieve their financial goals. Learn more about our employee programs.  

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When managing money goes over your head...

Who isn’t stressing over money nowadays? The truth is most of us are either in a financial crisis or just getting out of one. Financial anxiety is real and, at some point in our lives, happens to all of us.  

In fact, a recent study reveals financial anxiety among a majority of adult Americans was on the rise long before economic stress related to COVID-19. According to Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC) at George Washington University, 60 percent of the 19,000 Americans surveyed indicated feeling anxious when thinking about their personal finances, while 50 percent of respondents indicated feeling stressed when discussing their finances.  

As an employer or wellness practitioner, it is important to have solutions for individuals experiencing financial anxiety. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) 2020 Employee Financial Wellness Survey shares insights about financial concerns full-time employees in the U.S. are facing. In that survey, 58 percent of the employees polled say they are stressed about finances, and 50 percent admit that financial stress has been a distraction at work. 

Take the shame out of financial anxiety 

Create opportunities for open conversations about money management and financial stress through one-on-one conversations or workshops. As an employer, the first step is creating a work environment centered on whole-person wellness where employees have easy access to resources that address issues related to mental health, including financial anxiety. Resources can include a certified wellness professional, life coach, financial course, or licensed mental health professional. These resources should be promoted in multiple areas of a worksite and internal employee communications as a reminder to employees that help is available, and they don’t have to suffer in isolation. 

Get creative about promoting financial wellness 

Some companies use corporate challenges to teach valuable lessons in financial management. The challenges can center around saving money (which group saves the most money bringing their lunch to work instead of going out?) or paying off debt. This a subtle approach to addressing primary financial challenges many employees are facing.  

Offer a financial wellness course  

Science and math are taught in school but where do employees go for financial education? The GFLEC study shows that reliable financial education does matter! Significantly fewer study participants reported anxiety and stress regarding personal finances if they would have received financial education. The most successful financial wellness courses are scalable and customizable for your employees or clients and presented over multiple sessions. Check out the courses Foundation For Financial Wellness offers to individuals and companies.  

Empower your employees with money management solutions from The Foundation for Financial Wellness. Learn more about our 5 Essentials for Financial Wellness. 

 

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Why Financial Wellness is Critical to Your Business Plan

As more employees are feeling the stress of an unpredictable economy, employers are leaning into the idea of a comprehensive financial wellness strategy. Offering customized courses to help employees think differently about finances is a win for workplace culture while offering multiple benefits for organizations.  

Employees are feeling anxious about finances  

Financial anxiety is probably one of the biggest secrets employees are trying hard to keep private. Unfortunately, the stress shows up on the job and impacts productivity. A 2020 stress survey by John Hancock cited 39 percent of those surveyed before the pandemic were feeling financially stressed. That increased to 63 percent during the pandemic with those feeling extreme financial stress – a triple increase from 8 to 26 percent.  

 Financial wellness programs offer employees an opportunity to acknowledge their challenges with money management and build customized solutions. With an adequate financial wellness program, employees gain more confidence in long-term financial planning and avoid common pitfalls that lead to large debt.   

There is a demand for financial wellness education 

According to the 2020 survey conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), “78 percent of U.S. adults agree that considering what they already know about personal finance, they could still benefit from financial advice and answers to everyday financial questions from a professional.” 

The survey also revealed 1 in 4 U.S. adults would reach out to a professional non-profit credit counseling agency for assistance.  

A more productive workplace
Managing mounting financial debt impacts the workplace in multiple ways, including reduced productivity. The John Hancock Stress Survey shows 43% of workers spend at least some time on their personal finances while at work. Also noted in the survey, “Among those who worry about finances at work, close to half say their productivity would increase if they didn’t spend time at work worrying about personal finances.” 

A broader financial wellness program is a key element to reducing some of the work-related issues due to an employee’s financial anxiety. Other benefits could include a higher employee retention rate and an expanded pool of top talent.  

Among the many things revealed by the recent pandemic is that nothing is certain – and that includes financial security. Employers would benefit in the long-term with the addition of a financial wellness program to empower employees with the tools and knowledge to manage money today and into the future. 

Foundation for Financial Wellness is an educational nonprofit that provides financial wellness courses and counseling to empower individuals to achieve their financial goals. Learn more about our employee programs.  

 

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17011 Lincoln Avenue, #615 
Parker, Colorado 80134

Phone: 855-672-9051
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