Business Podcast Post

Financial Wellness with Ericka Young

George Grombacher March 2, 2023

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Financial Wellness with Ericka Young

LifeBlood: We talked about financial wellness, the challenges facing American workers, the cost to companies of poor financial health, and what companies can do to help, with Ericka Young, speaker, author, equity educator and podcast host.  

Listen to learn about the business case for financial wellness as an employee benefit!

You can learn more about Ericka at, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

ericka young

Ericka Young

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:02
Well, this is George G. And the time is right. welcome today’s guest strong and powerful Erica young Erica, are you ready to do this?

Ericka Young 0:08
Yes, I am. Thanks for having me. George.

george grombacher 0:10
I’m excited to have you back on our third installment. Erica, just to refresh everybody’s memory. Erica is a speaker, author, equity educator. She’s the host of the for better and worse podcast. She’s helping people go beyond numbers to rewrite their money stories and helping companies offer financial wellness to their employees. Eric could tell us a bit about your personal life’s more about your work, why you do what you do?

Ericka Young 0:36
Yes, well, I’m super excited about this season of life I have reached the next level I’ve graduated to empty nester life. And there wasn’t a graduation for me, but my girls graduated, they are out of the house. And this next season, I’m just diving into new projects and diving, you know, deeper into my business. And that kind of means that I can get out and travel and do more on site work for corporations. And that is fun. So my husband and I are navigating this new season. And I’m just honestly I’m learning to enjoy it because it is a different way of living not having younger people in the house and having to see what they have going on. We it’s really all about what it is I want to do and they’re happy and healthy. And that’s all I all I really care about. So success. Yeah, yes, they’re doing their thing. And that feels good.

george grombacher 1:32
Awesome. So what is what is financial wellness?

Ericka Young 1:37
Financial wellness is dealing with the whole person. So a lot of times we focus on budgeting and Cash Flow Planning, debt reduction. And then of course, investing for your future. And what I find is missing because I’ve been doing that for a long time helping people with their budgets. I’m a nerd that way I love the numbers. But wellness includes the whole person. So what I love talking about is the fact that your money story includes your money past and your money present and your money future. And if you don’t look at those things, and how they’re affecting your habits around money, and how it is affecting the way that you do life and the behaviors that you currently have today, then you’re missing pieces of the puzzle. And I think that a lot of financial professionals are very focused on one thing, either they’re focused on selling insurance are focused on getting people to invest, but they’re not necessarily focused on unpacking some of the baggage that we all have all of us have it. And understanding why these hang ups are and pitfalls are things that continue to strangle us. And so it’s really important to unpack some of that other stuff in order to get clear on what’s going to really help a person be free with their money and achieve the goals that they have.

george grombacher 2:50
I love it. And what is what is the business case for companies offering this?

Ericka Young 2:56
Yeah, well, people are looking for creative benefits. There are lots of young people. And by that, I mean millennials, they’re between the ages of say 2540 45. And they’re looking for creative way, they want to make sure that their company actually cares about them. 60% of that age group is looking for creative outside the box of benefits, they want to know that their company cares. And they want to know that they actually have a resource of financial wellness in the workplace, it’s easy. Think about it, you’re spending eight hours plus in the workplace, and this is a great place to offer financial wellness, you do life at work, and money. It’s all about doing life, right. And so it just kind of makes sense. As a benefit we’re offering, you know, mental wellness, we’re offering stress reducing activities people are offering, of course health benefits, and your financial health is important too. So this is simply a way to be creative, set yourself apart, and make certain that your employees actually have something to lean on, when they’re struggling with decision making around finances and things of that nature. So I think it also behooves them to reduce you know, the HR calls, if you will on things when people are in financial straits that, you know, the team can’t handle at work. That’s not necessarily their job, but to outsource that to someone or to give them resources to be able to win with money helps take some of that stress off their plate. No doubt

george grombacher 4:29
about that. So this is kind of a joke, Erica, but I was literally thinking yesterday I’m like what is it that really offends me? What what really bothers me I couldn’t think of too many things. But being called a millennial is offensive to me. 44 You said it goes to 45

Ericka Young 4:47
I think it’s about I think it’s about 42 I think yes.

george grombacher 4:56
I need to dig into my whatever’s going on but If you’re a millennial if I am not,

Ericka Young 5:02
you are on the cusp, you’re on the cusp, you’re at your butt. No, no, no, you probably are not a millennial. I actually think right now it goes to the age 42. So you just dodged that bullet? How about that? I’ll give you that. It’s so funny.

george grombacher 5:15
I don’t know why it is that’s that that’s triggered. It’s alright, so I definitely agree, it’s, we get so many of our benefits so many of our things or experiences through our work. So I do think that it’s a big opportunity for the right employers to be making this available. Do you think that there is, what is it take? What is an employer need to have in order to offer this? Is it a willingness, it’s an attention?

Ericka Young 5:46
Honestly, I think it would be really great for employers to know retention numbers, and to see is this something that would move their needle in keeping employees because they’re keeping them happy. So an employer would need to understand what it is that their employees need. And one of the first things that I start off with is an assessment to understand that you need that is available at that organization. But the other thing that I think is important, is to make sure that they already have a way to deliver and support to their employees in this. So sure, they can outsource and do workshops and have a coach that helps people, but they also need a medium to continue that conversation. So in terms of communication with employees, in terms of a go to person in house, to make certain that a financial wellness program is actually supported. Those are some things that I think would be very useful. assessments really tell the true story of what’s going on, it’s easy to say 70% of the population actually has, you know, they live paycheck to paycheck. But when you know that it’s 80%. In your organization, they need financial wellness. So an assessment would be really, really great as well, I think that that’s something that people miss, they don’t understand that it’s okay to ask your employees what it is that they need and want and what they would prefer, and then to provide it for them. It helps them to feel like they’re cared for.

george grombacher 7:13
That makes all sense in the world. Why not? Just ask?

Ericka Young 7:17
Just ask? Yep. And don’t let financial wellness be the only thing I think there may be other things that the employees are needing, I learned that from a really great book, The Dream manager. So if there’s a plug for a book, it’s not mine. But the dream manager is a great book. And, you know, it really tells the story of how one company change the structure of how they deliver hope and inspiration, and also exactly what it is that their employees need. And they started with the you know, taking a survey.

george grombacher 7:48
That makes a lot of sense. Sometimes the easiest answers are the most simple.

Ericka Young 7:53
Yes, yes. And the one that we don’t think is gonna work, but you just have to entice employees that the way that I do that is to make sure that there’s some type of carrot at the end, there’s, somebody’s got a chance to win an amazon gift card, or they will put you know, dollars in your wellness, your, you know, flexible spending account or something like that for participation. And people will do it and keep it short. And just and pay attention, give them the results, let them see what it is that the company is going to be doing and the initiatives that they will be rolling out.

george grombacher 8:27
That’s interesting. What is it that actually motivates people to, to break these to break these cycles? Because so many of us, all of us have some hang ups. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re interested in addressing them.

Ericka Young 8:42
Yeah, absolutely. And then the other thing I think, employers fail to realize is that if people are stressed about their money, they’re coming to work distracted. They’re not bringing their whole complete, unique, creative, energetic self to work period, if they’re stressed about how they’re going to pay the bills, or we’re not communicating, you know, they’re not communicating with their spouse about money in a proper way, or they’ve got debt up to their eyeballs, and they feel like they need more money. So it might be more attractive to go somewhere else to go find that money. This affects their productivity. And so companies just need to understand that if you’re bringing that baggage to work, it actually is affecting their productivity. It is their performance is being affected. And if you don’t if you miss that, right, because the same goes with health stressors or children’s stressors, or you know, people going through a divorce, like life events, things happen. And it shows up in work performance. And so if you can reduce that within your ability and offer programs that help them in that way, everyone’s the better for it.

george grombacher 9:48
It seems like there are, there’s been a lot of research done on on certainly absenteeism, so your employees missing work, but also that whole presenteeism thing that you’ve been taught Talking about and it’s it’s big numbers. It’s like trillions and billions of dollars that cost organizations. Yep. Do you ever hear organizations say, Well, don’t we already do this? Don’t we have this? Because we have 401k?

Ericka Young 10:15
Yeah, well, that’s so interesting you say that because 401k participation, those numbers, if you drill into it to see if if there are people who actually are, would participate at a higher level, because their other parts of their financial wellness are taken care of. So if you’re in debt, those dollars can’t go into your 401k. When I was in debt, my debt totaled $1,200 a month. So there’s no way I could participate fully in a 401 K plan. Sure, I was, you know, putting $100 into my 401 K. But I had potential to put over $1,000 in there. And that was left untapped. So so when you think about financial wellness, we’re not only talking about the future, let’s talk about how we can help people heal what’s going on today, and bring that into the workplace. And that’s budgeting and Cash Flow Planning, debt reduction, learning how to communicate about money, how to navigate the day to day tracking your expenses, things like that. And then you’re bringing a more whole person who can more fully participate into the 401 K plan that you offer?

george grombacher 11:25
Yeah, well, that. That certainly does make sense when we’re, you know, most of us do have finite resources. So if I’m spending $1, on my debt repayment or debt management and not even down, then that’s money that can’t go somewhere else.

Ericka Young 11:40
Absolutely, absolutely. And I think the other thing that is on the rise is employers matching dollars that people spend on their student loans. You know, there are creative ways that employers can get involved in helping people to have healthier financial life. And if you can help them pay down student loans, if you can help them learn how to do a budget, and communicate around money, in addition to the 401 k, that is what is going to turn the heads of more workers that you’re needing to either stay and or jump in to work with you longer term. And so I think that, you know, we just really have to began to think outside the box, because, you know, workers today are demanding it, they really are. And by that they’re, you know, if you don’t have it, they’ll go and find someone else who does.

george grombacher 12:29
Yeah. So you have a unique perspective and experience that you spent 18 years doing one on one financial coaching. Yeah. And so I’m confident you’ve heard literally everything? What is what is just kind of distill that down? How how do you best connect with with people? And now it’s not one on one necessarily, it’s going to be you’re in front of a room of people? What is what is the secret to getting people’s attention? And can you to listen to the financial stuff?

Ericka Young 13:04
Well, you know, that’s, that’s good. You say that, um, because the I tell my own story, first of all, you know, my get out of debt story, I’ve been there. My husband and I had over $90,000 in debt, we had to get out. And so we have the lived experience, in addition to Yes, I have done this for 18 years. But the thing that I now talk about is people getting naked with their money. And what that means is take off all the baggage, take off the backpack, take off the things that you’re covering up with a lot of people cover, and they want to make it look like everything is okay, when really underneath the surface, there’s a whole bunch of mess that they are hiding. And so it’s time to get naked with money. And so that works with spouses, right that works with your partner, a lot of people hide, and they pretend and they may shy away from real true honest conversations with their partner, but it also can simply be just in life, trying to be somebody you’re not right. And so let’s fix what’s really broken. Let’s go beneath the surface and make sure that we are not leaving any stone unturned. And I think that sometimes it’s hard for folks, and it’s very vulnerable, which is why I use the term naked. My book is called naked and unashamed. And it’s 10 Money conversations every couple must have. Because if we can uncover the conversation that will help people thrive with their money and blossom financially, that’s exactly what we want to do. So, yeah, I talk to people about getting naked with their money. And I love making people uncomfortable when I do it. And I put a smile on my face, but I also tell my own story, and how that vulnerability helped me to, you know, not just get out of debt, but thrive with money with my husband after 25 years. So

george grombacher 14:54
yeah, I think that that vulnerability is such an important thing. And I imagine that that’s diff cult, for a lot of traditional providers of financial stuff. Yes, very buttoned up probably typically. And it’s I’m an expert and that I’m not going to. I’m not going to talk about how I’ve maybe made mistakes.

Ericka Young 15:17
Yeah. And I think it’s real. We’re all human. No one has done everything perfectly. If we’re all honest, no one has done everything perfectly. And I think nowadays, people aren’t looking for perfection, they’re looking for someone that they can actually relate to. I love it when I find someone who gets me who understands me who’s been there who has been in the trenches, and also has been winning in an area where I’m looking to succeed. And so I think that that real and honest conversation resonates with folks. And so I’ve heard more than once more than a million times, let’s say that, that people are thankful that they can relate to my stories, and not just my story, personally, but that of my clients. I obviously keep them anonymous, but people want to know that they’re not alone. And so when you share your truth, and when you share your missteps, and when you are honest about that, but also, you know how things have been over time, fantastic as well, like you’ve made progress and made a whole bunch of accomplishments. They want to see both. And I think that that’s, that’s a human experience and not something I’m not trying to impress anyone. I’m really just trying to reach you.

george grombacher 16:34
Amen. Love it. Erica, thank you so much for coming back on the show. Where can people learn more about you? How can they engage with you? Yeah, so

Ericka Young 16:42
find me on Eric I’m on Instagram Erica young official and Linked In. Erica. Yeah, I would love to connect with you in all of those places.

george grombacher 16:53
Excellent. Well, if you enjoyed as much as I did show Erica, your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to Erica That’s Find her on social media Eric young official, and I’ll certainly link all those in the notes in the show. Thanks again, Erica.

Ericka Young 17:12
Thanks for having me doors.

george grombacher 17:14
And until next time, remember, do your part by doing your best

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