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Financial Well-being Playbook Step 1: Assess the Current State

Begin with evaluating the organization’s needs and the unique struggles of the employee base.


The first step to creating a financial well-being strategy is to assess the needs of your population. To solve the problem, you must understand the unique struggles that face your community. Although there are common themes, issues vary by company size, industry, and other employee demographics.

National statistics show that Americans only have $400 saved for an emergency, but that may not mean emergency savings is the problem you need to tackle. Try to gather as much data as possible about your employees. Below are resources to guide your company’s evaluation of the employees’ needs to more effectively design solutions. When in doubt, ask them.


Individual financial well-being assessments can help employees determine their level of financial well-being.



  • Create an employee survey using an online provider or preferred internal program.
  • Ask specific questions about emergency savings, debt, student loans, economic hardship, investment knowledge, and retirement readiness. 
  • Understand how employees are paid (ACH, check, or pay card) as unbanked vs. banked status can affect access to financial resources and products. 
  • Find out how employees feel about their financial security (for example, “I feel great”, “I am okay but could do better”, or “things are terrible”). 
  • Ask your employees how well prepared they are for retirement and what financial well-being topics are of interest. Financial Health Network has an assessment that provides a deeper dive into employees’ financial well-being needs and an in-depth data set and benchmarking.
  • Your dedicated Marsh McLennan Agency team can assist with developing a survey or finding an assessment.

  • If you sponsor a retirement plan, consult with your recordkeeper to assess employees’ retirement readiness. 
  • Ask for data like your plan’s participation rate, average employee contribution rate, average account balance and match utilization rate.
  • Learn employees’ engagement rate with the online financial tools and resources offered.
  • If you don’t sponsor a plan, consider sponsoring a retirement plan for your employees. Helping employees save for retirement can go a long way towards easing their financial stress. Recognize that retirement savings is a piece of overall financial well-being.
  • Here’s a list of retirement recordkeepers by asset size and total participants.

  • Consult with your retirement plan recordkeeper for information about where your plan stands against other employers in your size and industry.
  • Consult your dedicated Marsh McLennan Agency Retirement Service team for assistance with benchmarking your retirement plan data.

There are many organizations devoted to financial well-being. Some of their thought leadership may help you understand the impact financial well-being will have on employees as you develop and refine your philosophy and plans:


  • Most recordkeepers offer financial well-being programs for plan participants. Ask for details on their offering and promote this to your employees. 
  • Solutions like SmartDollarMomentum, and ProsperWise have self-assessments that the individual takes at the beginning of the program. This serves as a baseline and a way to focus on areas for improvement. They may also have free resources on their sites.