Thursday, May 13

Most Americans are in dark about money. Here’s how that could change

Browning created the series on tax tips and side hustles back in June of 2017 and releases an episode a week. Around 1,500 people currently listen in, he said, often while they’re driving to work or cleaning up the house.

“Talking about money gets kind of intimidating and pushes people away,” Browning said. “I try not to use a lot of jargon.

“People tell me they appreciate that it’s easy to understand.”

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As personal finance advice proliferates, it also grows harder for people to pick out what’s actually good for them, said Hensley, the president of the National Endowment for Financial Education.

“There’s a lot of money to be made off of someone’s decision,” Hensley said. “Getting high-quality, vetted information is a challenge.”

TO THAT POINT, companies are moving beyond education, and streamlining the financial decision making process for their employees.

Nearly 75 percent of businesses today that offer a 401(k) plan already automatically enroll their workers. Research shows that few people opt out.

Up until recently, if an employee did drop out, that would be the end of their workplace retirement savings unless they signed up again. But now, some companies are auto-enrolling their workers once a year. (Nearly 10 percent of Prudential’s retirement clients do so today).

Prudential also now offers a way for workers to build up an emergency savings account at their jobs. The savings is an after-tax contribution that allows employees to automatically put money away in low-cost investments such as money market or so-called stable value funds.

“Education is important because people need to understand the context of their financial decisions,” said Vishal Jain, the head of financial wellness strategy and development for Prudential. “At the same time, its important to guide people to action.”

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