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Jonathan Watts-Lay

Director, WEALTH at work

It’s time that financial wellbeing became a keystone of workplace wellbeing.


Nearly half of adults (47%) say that money worries affect their life, yet 49% say their employer does not do anything to help them understand their finances.

Financial future

“Unfortunately, financial wellbeing lags behind other wellbeing pillars such as physical and mental health. Many employers need to rethink their approach if they are to genuinely support employee wellbeing,” says Jonathan Watts-Lay, Director of WEALTH at work, a financial wellbeing and retirement specialist helping people improve their financial future.

“Key to this is offering financial education and guidance through coaching to help employees understand their finances including ways to save money, manage debt, boost savings and prepare for retirement.”

Long-term methods

“Supporting employees with day-to-day needs in the current cost of living crisis should be the immediate focus, as well as providing support around long-term needs such as savings and pensions.”

For it to be effective, support for financial wellbeing should be ingrained in the company with support from leaders. “It should also be inclusive, so any financial initiatives can be accessed by all,” says Watts-Lay.

“When employees feel in control of their finances, overall wellbeing is improved.”

14% of UK adults say that financial worries make them embarrassed.

What should be included?

Watts-Lay advises organisations to:

  • Introduce financial education and guidance programmes on budgeting, savings, debt management and retirement planning.
  • Remove the stigma of debt. “Our survey found that 14% of UK adults say that financial worries make them embarrassed, rising to 23% in 18 to 34-year-olds,” he says. “Many proactive employers encourage their employees to not suffer in silence and access support.”
  • Signpost external support, including online budgeting tools such as MoneyHelper’s budget planner. Charities such as StepChange and National Debtline can help people manage debt problems. Citizens Advice can help people to work out what benefits or grants they may be eligible for.
  • Consider workplace benefits; for example, offering employee discount schemes (on transport deals, meals or tech purchases etc.), introducing salary sacrifice schemes (covering transportation or phones etc.), offering workplace savings and investment accounts (including workplace ISAs etc.) and helping people understand the benefits of the company pension scheme and any other benefits introduced.

“WEALTH at work helps many leading employers to understand their employees’ needs and how best to create and integrate financial wellbeing programmes that really make a difference,” says Watts-Lay.

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