A fish versus teaching to fish

Written by
Peter Dunn

You might have heard this saying: If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.

There’s a reason this cliché has endured, and it has nothing to do with the popularity of sushi or Deadliest Catch or the recent rise of noodling (aka hillybilly handfishing). The cliché has endured because it’s true, especially when it comes to budgeting and financial wellness.

If we could revise it for our purposes it might go something like this: give a man $100, and he might be able to survive for a day in our modern economy. Teach a man how to spend, save and invest that $100 wisely—in other words, teach him how to be financially well—and pretty soon he won’t be showing up at your doorstep every day asking you for 100 dollars.

But how do you teach a man—or a woman, or a child, or in your case, an employee—how to be financially well? Great question. You give her the educational resources, training and attention that she needs. You do the hard work of teaching her how to be financially well.

And, like any worthwhile outcome or accomplishment, teaching an employee how to be financially well is hard work. In fact, it’s work best left to professionals (ahem, shameless plug). It requires enough resources, expertise and experience to facilitate a fundamental shift in your employees’ behaviors.

While we understand how your employees will benefit from becoming financially well—they will create and follow a budget, build up their savings and get out of debt, be happier, more productive, more successful, the sun will shine brighter on their faces, etc.—you and your business will also reap the rewards.

When your employees are financially well, you will experience:

· Less financial stress in your workplace, and as a result, fewer stress-related health issues, and as a result, lower health care costs

· Less presenteeism and absenteeism

· Fewer hours spent dealing with time-consuming and emotionally loaded issues like wage garnishments and 401(K) Loans

· Increased employee satisfaction related to pay

It’s time to start teaching your employees to fish. In the end, it means more fish for everyone. (And just to be clear, by more fish, we mean more money.)

Step up your financial wellness game.

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