By South Carolina Treasurer Curtis M. Loftis, Jr.
As State Treasurer I’ve had the privilege of visiting many successful businesses where I’ve enjoyed meeting with the leadership teams responsible for developing and maintaining their profitable organizations. Many have shared that hiring talented, dedicated employees and retaining them are the key components of their success. They’ve also said that it has become more and more challenging to make these crucial hires and to keep them.
These smart employers are keenly aware that over the past few years, the expectations of employees and potential employees have grown. Work has become about more than just the zeroes on the paycheck. For today’s employee, work obligations must dovetail with home responsibilities in a way that lowers stress and enhances all aspects of life. Benefits, especially those that lower financial stress, are a natural extension of employee compensation and can help increase overall employee satisfaction and well-being.
Improve financial wellness with Future Scholar
September is College Savings Month – a chance to highlight the importance of saving for higher education – and the perfect time to consider a financial benefit that provides families with a way to save. South Carolina’s Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan offers employees and their families a simple path to reaching their college savings goals. With Future Scholar employers can offer a no-cost benefit that not only helps families meet college costs, but also improves the chances that their students will actually pursue higher education. This College Savings Month, that’s good news for Future Scholar families to hear – and great news for South Carolina’s bright future.
Future Scholar is an employer/employee win-win
For employers, offering the Future Scholar 529 benefit is easy, flexible and free. Materials and presentations are provided at no cost. To keep things simple, contributions are completed after income taxes are already deducted. Employers can decide if they would like to contribute to accounts as employee rewards or as part of a recognition system. They may also want to match contributions as bonuses or contribute to plans in celebration of work anniversaries or as part of an organization scholarship program.
Offering Future Scholar as a benefit can help today’s employers not only attract but also keep their important workforce. A MetLife study found that more than half of employees say that financial planning programs increase their loyalty.
Employees who open Future Scholar accounts are free to manage their own accounts and make any changes. As an added bonus, they can deduct 100 percent of their contributions on their South Carolina state income tax returns.
Increase Employee Focus and Well-Being
Knowing they have a plan to finance a child’s higher education can lower an employee’s stress level. And as it turns out, lowering financial stress is crucial to business. In a recent nationwide survey, 58 percent of employees reported they’re stressed about finances. Of those stressed, 50 percent say financial anxiety has been a distraction at work. By offering financial benefits that help employees chart a course for the future, employers can reduce anxiety and increase employee satisfaction and productivity.
This College Savings Month, I hope employers will consider giving their employees a benefit that can help enhance financial wellness, lower distracting stress and increase loyalty. By offering the Future Scholar college savings benefit, our valued South Carolina employers will also help cultivate a better educated workforce – a vital resource for the future of business in South Carolina.
Visit FutureScholar.com/for-employers for more information.
Curtis Loftis is the State Treasurer of South Carolina. He also serves as the administrator of South Carolina’s Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan, Palmetto ABLE Savings Program and Unclaimed Property Program. Visit treasurer.sc.gov to learn more about these consumer programs.