Employee Financial Wellness Programs

Financial Behaviors

The Employee Financial Wellness Programs (EFWPs) project, an exploratory study that began in 2015 as an initiative of the Center for Social Development, is designed to generate evidence about such programs and to assess whether they offer a promising strategy for building financial security among low- and moderate-income workers. This project continues at Washington University’s Social Policy Institute.

In recent years, the number of financial wellness programs (FWPs) have increased significantly, yet they operate at a small scale, and evidence concerning their efficacy is limited. New, scalable models must be developed to reach and serve economically vulnerable populations. Employer-sponsored FWPs have the potential to reach low- to moderate-income households at a much larger scale than community-based programs and in a financially sustainable manner. Also, employer-sponsored FWPs are promising because of an existing stable infrastructure for delivery. 

Yet this new and emerging field lacks a standard definition of workplace FWPs, and FWPs vary greatly in what they offer. Little is known about 

  • the types of FWPs offered in the workplace;
  • attractive product and service design features;
  • the likelihood of and barriers to uptake among LMI workers;
  • the value of these programs from the perspectives of both employers and employees, and;
  • factors that affect an employer’s decision to offer a FWP.​ 

Information for employers includes a primer, a directory of workplace financial wellness providers, tips on selecting a workplace financial wellness provider, and how to engage employees in your financial wellness program.  

Funding Partners: Ford Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Principal Investigator

Michal Grinstein-Weiss

Michal Grinstein-Weiss

Washington University in St. Louis
Financial Behaviors: Nudges and Habits


Geraldine Germain

Geraldine Germain

Project Manager, Washington University in St. Louis