Alleviate stress through financial wellness

Rachel Briggeman | Jan 18, 2019 Rachel Briggeman 01/18/19

Health isn’t strictly defined by your BMI or how fast you can run a mile—it’s just as much about mental wellness as it is physical fitness. That’s why we take a holistic approach when it comes to our employees’ health. In addition to SMG’s passionate involvement with KC Corporate Challenge each summer, we bring in massage therapists twice a month to help employees relax and unwind. And along with offering weekly yoga and boot camp classes, we provide organized “mental breaks” to help with stress management.

Because we all know stress isn’t good. Not only can it negatively affect work performance, it can cause irritability, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. And according to the American Psychological Association’s report, “The State of our Nation,” money is currently the second most common source of that stress. These financial stressors include things like losing a job, saving for retirement, and paying medical expenses. So with our efforts to have a balanced focus on wellness, here are a few ways we hope to help our employees with their financial health:

Saving for the future

Every full-time employee is eligible for our 401K program. In their first month of employment at SMG, they attend a presentation from our 401K representative so they can be armed with all the necessary information. Depending on how involved they want to be with their elections, they can opt for a more hands-on approach or an automated method based on desired risk level. We know some people love numbers and want to check stocks every day. Others prefer to check in a little less frequently. Either way, our approach is easy.

In addition to offering a match, SMG offers both pre-tax and Roth IRA contributions to each employee enrolled in our 401K program. We also have an internal 401K committee, with representatives from various departments, which provides additional employee input. Our monthly 1-on-1 meetings with our 401K rep help employees get a closer look at their elections and receive expert advice on potential modifications. This focus on education and the support we provide is why more than 90% of SMG employees are currently enrolled in our 401K plan.

Continuing education

The topics of our regular lunch-and-learns cover a wide range of topics, and in 2019, we’re continuing our focus on financial education. Our first presentation of the year will be on estate planning and will help employees establish a plan to protect their assets. While this isn’t a popular subject or something most people (especially those who are younger) like to think about, it’s important to have things in place.

We’ll also continue promoting our Map My Benefits tool, which helps employees prioritize where to allocate their spending and savings. This tool can incorporate health savings accounts (HSAs), debt payoff, life insurance, etc. With just a little organization and preparation, a financial future can look a lot more promising.

Medical piggy bank

Along with offering a lower-cost option for health insurance this year, our employees are also able to open an HSA. If an employee chooses to open an account and contribute, SMG will also make contributions each paycheck—essentially giving employees free money to use toward their healthcare costs or to save for the future. Healthcare is one of the largest expenses for someone in retirement, so with its triple tax benefit and a balance that rolls over year after year, an HSA can serve as a nice safety net.

Bottom line:

Taking an active approach to financial wellness is a great step to improving your overall health. We know it’s impossible to remove all stress, but by making strides to save for your future, stick to a manageable budget, and create a safety net, you’ll alleviate some of that anxiety. Here’s to a happy (and financially healthy) 2019!

If you’d like to learn more about SMG and what it’s like to work here, check out our careers page. We’d love for you to help us make this year our healthiest yet.

Rachel Briggeman | Senior Human Resources Generalist
Customer Experience Update