George Washington University Partners with Edelman on Financial Wellness

The financial wellness program, Fast Track to Financial Health, is being deployed to nearly 30,000 employees at a Fortune 25 company.

Edelman Financial Engines, an independent wealth planning and investment advisory firm, has announced a new partnership with George Washington University’s Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center.

The initiative involves the launch and study of a new financial counseling and education program called Fast Track to Financial Health. As a start, the program is being deployed to nearly 30,000 employees at a Fortune 25 company. According to the organizations, the goal of this effort is to gain insight into the financial health of employees while providing them with valuable financial counseling and tailored resources, all meant to address pressing financial needs and encourage overall financial wellness.

“Employees are increasingly looking to the workplace for assistance with their financial health and well-being,” says Kelly O’Donnell, executive vice president at Edelman Financial Engines and head of its workplace business. “The cornerstone of our business is providing employers with innovative solutions that can improve the financial outcomes of their workforce.”

To create a benchmarking mechanism to define and measure financial well-being, Edelman Financial Engines partnered with the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center and used data from the National Financial Capability Study to establish an empirical assessment, which they call the “Financial Health Status Indicator.” This index serves as the backbone of the Fast Track to Financial Health program, which consists of three steps. The first takes employees through an initial assessment to generate a baseline score, and the second provides personalized counseling and access to educational resources based on that score. Finally, the program assesses the impact of this intervention with a focus on both short-term effects and future anticipated changes in financial health.

“Our recent research found that financial literacy can be protective against financial errors and stress in later life,” says Annamaria Lusardi, university professor at GWU and GFLEC’s academic director. “Partnering with Edelman Financial Engines on this innovative research project with a major employer will not only help us better understand financial behaviors of employees but also provides thousands of employees with much-needed financial education.”

The Fast Track to Financial Health program is launching in April in conjunction with Financial Literacy Month, the initiative established more than two decades ago to raise awareness of the importance of financial literacy and the need for effective financial education.

The Edelman Financial Engines program is structured as a six-week challenge, concluding in early June. GFLEC will be analyzing and benchmarking the findings to assess Edelman Financial Engines’ impact on an employee’s overall financial well-being. The key findings of the research are expected to be released later this year.