Prudential adds financial, student loan tools for employers

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Prudential is expanding its digital financial wellness capabilities so that employers can help employees get a better grasp on their finances.

The financial services and insurance company said last week it has updated its offerings for more than 3,000 employer clients to allow workers to better manage student loan debt, develop a financial plan and get access to coaching services.

“Making tools and solutions available at the workplace is such an important step to bringing financial wellness more in reach for everyone,” says Judy Dougherty, chief financial wellness officer at Prudential.

As part of the updates, Prudential is making its LINK by Prudential solution available to employers. LINK, which was initially released to consumers, allows employees to put together a personal financial roadmap based on their needs. Dougherty says users can create an online personal profile and then input financial goals that they may have down the road, for example, purchasing a home. The tool allows employees to integrate information from their Prudential retirement accounts and non-Prudential financial accounts.

“Those needs and goals connect to important life stages and life events and allows people to identify the milestones that mean a lot to them personally,” she says.

In addition to LINK, Prudential is now offering financial coaching available over the phone or through a one-way screen share. Employers can elect to make coaching available to their workers for assistance with budgeting, building emergency savings and managing debt, Dougherty says. Prudential is currently piloting the financial coaching offerings with selected employers. The company declined to name any of its employer clients, but its digital financial wellness platform is used by more than 7 million individuals.

The company also added a student loan assistant resource, provided by student loan technology benefits firm Vault, and PruPassages, a program that assists employees with the financial transition between jobs.

Dougherty says adding a student loan assistance program came in response to conversations with employers about student debt. The new offering will allow workers to see all of their student loans in one place, select refinancing options and reduce monthly payments. Vault also has an option that employers can select to contribute towards paying down debt, she says.

“Employers realize what a challenge [student loan debt] is and what an impediment it can be to long-term retirement and financial security, which is the motivation to offer something like this,” she says. “It’s an important part of an overall financial wellness program.”

Employers are recognizing the heavy burden that student loan debt is placing on workers. Some employers are beginning to tie repayment to retirement benefits. For example, Travelers and CSAA-Insurance are both offering matching programs to help workers pay down their debt. Empower Retirement and student loan provider CommonBond recently partnered to offer student loan benefits to Empower’s 9 million plan participants through approximately 39,000 retirement plans.

In a survey, Prudential found that 53% of millennial women and 44% of millennial men say they are anxious about a world where the cost of school continues to increase. Roughly 79% of millennials surveyed think it’s likely people will no longer be able to comfortably retire in the future.

Offering financial wellness solutions that address employees needs at different stages of life can help employees get back on track financially. It also can help them reduce stress that they may have about money, Dougherty says.

“Employers want to help as best they can with some of these financial questions and stressors,” she says. “Employers are more deeply understanding the connection between employee well-being and the health of their organization.”

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Student loans Financial stress Financial wellness Employee engagement Financial planning Retirement benefits Retirement planning Retirement readiness HR Technology Prudential