Employee financial education can in fact improve employee engagement with retirement benefits and help them do a better job preparing for the future.

That’s the conclusion being drawn from a new workplace investor education program that’s been field tested on nearly 8,500 employees in hundreds of workplaces in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Wisconsin.

The program, Investor Education in Your Workplace, is a project of the nonprofit Investor Protection Institute with support provided through the Investor Protection Trust.  It is carried out jointly with state securities agencies and the National Credit Union Foundation.

The 10-week online IEiYW training program has produced some attention-grabbing results that have been documented by the field testing. Among them:

• Up to 50% increases in short- and long-term saving and investing activities

• Up to 40% improvement in investment knowledge, measured through pre- and post-testing

• Up to 50% improvement in participant attitudes and behaviors, including increased financial well-being, setting investment goals, implementing a budget, and starting/increasing contributions to 401(k), IRA, or equivalent plans

• More than 80% of participants complete the entire 10-week program

• 96% say they would like to participate in additional programs

“The answer to the question of how to get more employees to participate in workplace saving and investing programs is much sought after in the world of investor education,” notes IPI President and CEO Don Blandin. “The good news here is that we now have a much better handle on what works. The real plus of the Investor Education in Your Workplace program is that it is a proven product with measured and fully quantified empirical data spanning thousands of employees in three states. This is an excellent example of how state securities agencies are once again taking the lead in delivering important and effective investor education at the grassroots level in the U.S.”

NCUF National Program Manager Lois Kitsch adds that credit unions are the perfect crucible for testing what works when it comes to investor education designed to spur more saving and investing. That’s why “credit unions have taken a very active role in this effort by the Investor Protection Institute and state securities regulators to find a way get more people off the dime when it comes to planning for their financial futures. The strong results we already have seen with this program make us very eager to be part of the new phase of the campaign in which it is going national.”

After its initial testing phase in three states, IEiYW is now expanding to the District of Columbia and seven additional states:  Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Washington State. For more information about the groundbreaking program, go to http://www.investoreducationinyourworkplace.org

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