Life events can profoundly affect employees’ mental and physical wellbeing, and their ability to plan financially. Targeted information can help.
Ill health or bereavement, caring responsibilities, or separation or divorce – these events can greatly affect people’s ability and confidence to plan financially for their short, medium and long term.
Employers can help by providing information about the possible impact of life events on a person’s financial plans, and how to try to manage the possible disruption.
But when it comes to financial planning, what life events would employees most appreciate receiving information about? And do these preferences vary between men and women? As we know, the more targeted such information and guidance is, the more effective it is likely to be.
In Standard Life’s customer survey, we asked people how useful they would find information or guidance on various life events, with respect to their financial planning.
The results reveal some similarities between the women and men, but also some interesting differences.
When it comes to financial planning, ill health/bereavement was the life event female employees said they would most like information or guidance on. The vast majority of women (86%) said this information would be useful.
The joint-second most valued information was on flexible working and caring responsibilities, both of which were cited by 70% of women as useful.
Information on the menopause was the fourth most valued. More than a quarter of women said they would find this information “very useful” when it comes to their financial planning.
Information on ill health and bereavement was also most commonly cited by men as being useful. This was followed by caring responsibilities and flexible working patterns.
However, for every life event available to men as an option, the desire for information or guidance was less than for women.
For example, almost twice as many women as men said information on the impact of flexible working would be “very useful” (35% vs. 18%).
Similarly, more than a quarter of women (26%) said information on the impact of marriage/separation/divorce would be “very useful”, compared to 14% of men.
Although each company will face practical resourcing restrictions in how they can support their employees, the more targeted their information is, the more effective it is likely to be.
Our findings indicate that information and guidance on the impact of critical life events might be greatly appreciated by your workforce. And some groups – such as women – might particularly benefit.
The provision of such information and guidance may therefore help to mitigate the gender pension gap, increase many people’s financial wellbeing and ultimately contribute to a more inclusive workplace.