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Frugal Friday:Should We Expect This From an Employer?

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Happy Friday everyone! It has been another hectic week in the Frugal Rules home. We’ve signed several more clients this week and work is keeping us busy. This is a good thing as summertime is usually the slow time of the year for us, which has me wondering what it’ll be like a few months from now when another busy time of the year starts to pick up. Regardless, I’ll happily take the business as more of it is generally a good thing.

Mrs. Frugal Rules sent me an article from NPR this week that I found interesting and thought I’d take the opportunity to discuss it as it encouraged me a good bit. The topic covered was in relation to a business owner looking out for his employees. I’ve written on this topic before in both Do Businesses Care About Their Employees Anymore and in Do We Care About Our Employers Anymore, so the article instantly stuck out to me as one showing me that not all is lost in the corporate world. The article discusses a gentleman who owns his own market research company in Seattle who has gone out of his way to try and help his employees. As an aside, the article does not state the size of his company though I would venture to guess that it is a smaller business. The article shares how Mr. Rosenkrantz, the business owner, regularly sees instances where his employees are making foolish financial decisions. From employees not enrolling in the company sponsored 401k and thus missing out on the match (which actually saves him money), to individuals taking out loans from their retirement plans, to being deep in debt he is seeing on a daily basis how these decisions are impacting those around him. I know that things like this are not really that unique as we see them around us all the time and are further evidence of the lack of financial literacy in our society. That said, Mr. Rosenkratz starting offering time with a local financial advisor as he felt there was a larger underlying issue than just dealing with a paycheck, but making wiser choices entirely.

To be fair, Mr. Rosenkratz is not unique as the article points out that roughly 25% of employers offer some sort of one-on-one financial counseling and nearly half offer some sort of investment advice as a part of their 401k plan. What does make him somewhat unique though is his apparent care for his employees, which is not common at all today. In my opinion, this raises a good question – to what extent are employers responsible for providing services like this for their employees? Certainly, it’s not required, by any means, but I think it speaks a lot about the character of a business. As long as the employer is following the laws set before them by the States they do business in, then that’s really all that can be expected of them and anything beyond that is really just an added benefit. I think it’s a safe assumption that there is some sort of out of pocket cost to the business owners which many firms would rebuff at. However, wise employers know that happy employees are more productive, productivity positively impacts the bottom line, and therefore investing in the financial literacy of employees is a worthwhile business expense. I can’t really speak to Mr. Rosenkratz’s motives, other than that the article pointed out his concern over bad consequences made in light of poor financial decision making by those under him, but I applaud his initiative in this as I view it as a vital step in helping bring greater financial literacy to our society. One case that showed me that was an example given in the article of a gentleman who was in fairly deep credit card debt, to the point that one creditor was starting to garnish his wages. He thought that he was making headway on his debts, but after meeting with a financial counselor he learned that he was actually getting deeper in debt. Thanks to the meeting he has started to curtail his spending and is finding new ways to cut it and throw it at his debt. I know it’s not terribly remarkable, but the road to financial literacy starts with taking the right action, which this employer is helping provide for even though he does not have to.

As I shared a few weeks ago, I’ll be gone next week for two different reasons. The beginning of the week I’ll be out of town helping my youngest brother move and the second half of the week the Frugal Rules clan will be enjoying a staycation. I know staycations may not be considered the most fun, but I am looking forward to spending a few days unplugged from my mistress, as Mrs. Frugal Rules affectionately calls the blog, and spending some quality time with the family. We’re not doing a major trip this year as we’re saving for a cross country trip to see the in-laws in San Diego next summer and probably can’t afford the time away from the business right now, so we’ll make do enjoying some things around town that we normally do not have the time for. I have the week filled with some great guest posts from some of my blogger friends, so I am sure you’ll enjoy their thoughts.

It’s been another great week in the blogging world. If you have the time this weekend, then enjoy some of my favorite blog posts from the week.

 

Blog Post of the Week

Want to Help the Poor? Just Throw Money on Stacking Benjamins

This was a very thought provoking post by my blogging buddy Joe. Joe discusses reading about a charity in Kenya called GiveDirect. The main gist is that this charity finds people in Kenya in need and gives the money directly to them. Joe points out that many African relief organizations can be giant scams and it makes sense, on one level, but would it necessarily help solve the problem? I could not agree more with Joe’s thoughts that often a lack of education or guidance, in the States, is generally the bigger issue as handing someone a pile of money may not really solve the larger problem. I know that comparing doing this in Kenya vs. in the States is somewhat of an apples to oranges issue – but it’s one that is very interesting to ponder. What do you think?

Other Blog Posts That Ruled

Millennial Speak – What is a Side Hustle? on A Young Pro

Why Do You Have to Beat the Market on Mom And Dad Money

Moment of Debt Repayment Pride on Girl Meets Debt

When is the Right Time to Change Jobs on Your Daily Finance

Making the Most of any Situation on Budget and the Beach

Living in a Payment Plan Society on Money Smart Guides

Successful Attempt at Making Money Online: Freelance Writing on Make Money Your Way

Odd Search Terms

How to get Rick…Can’t say as I know a Rick

Cheapest way to wipe you’re a$$…Sorry, I say spend the money for your bum!

Fast food employees use drugs…More than you know!

F-you blog, financial independence…Tell me how you REALLY feel!

I feel my head scratching me…Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Is my broker crazy…No, but they’re certainly liking your money!

What to do when finding an object in a banana you just bought at Wal-Mart…Return the banana!

 

Do you think it’s good to see employers offer services like this, or do you think it’s really not their role? Do you have anything fun planned for this weekend?

 

Photo courtesy of: Pamela Stocks

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I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. I'm also a freelance writer, and regularly contribute to GoBankingRates, Investopedia, Lending Tree and more. If you're wanting to learn how to monetize your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level.

Latest posts by John Schmoll (see all)

43 Comments

  • I think it’s great that the employer is looking out for his employees. I’ve worked in larger companies that have had free financial advice from professionals but I rarely knew of anyone that took the offer up. This is sad because as you pointed out, we don’t teach financial literacy in this country. Many more of us could actually get ahead if we learned just the basics – I’m not talking about years worth of knowledge, just the basics.

    Thanks for the mention as well!!

    • John says:

      As do I Jon. I’ve seen things similar to this at larger companies I worked for, but never knew anyone who took advantage of it. You’re right on about learning the basics, a little bit can go a long way in terms of helping out.

    • I heard Bob Moore talked about his profit sharing plan and it took him a while to get that going. He started Bob’s Red Mill and it grew into a $200 million dollars per year business. At first, he just though of his employees as temp workers, but eventually he realized they are a part of the family. You have to get to know the employees and make a connection.
      That’s pretty much impossible to do in a big corporation. The CEOs are just looking out for themselves.

      • John says:

        Interesting story. I agree, it is basically impossible to do in a large firm as you’re generally just a number and the bottom line drives so many of the decisions.

  • Haha that’s awesome you referred to your blog as your mistress! It’s actually pretty accurate if you are married. I hope you enjoy being unplugged from the site and I should seriously consider doing the same sometime soon.

    • John says:

      It’s actually what my wife refers to it as. She actually calls my computer the devil box. 😉 I am so looking forward to being unplugged…though I think it might mean me not even using my phone either. 😉

  • John wonderful post. I think that what this owner is doing is great but I wouldn’t say that everyone “should” have to do it. Its almost like a perk to have someone who goes that far out of the way to help. You also have to look at it from and employee point of view. There are a lot of people who will find it offensive that he is telling them to invest in 401k etc. Not that he is wrong but its like telling people to invest instead of buying a car. If they don’t come to you for that help they could consider you crossing the line. The key here is education and it needs to start at an early age. When we hear about finances early on from parents, guidance counselors, school, college and so forth it would make it easier for business owners like this.

    Have a great weekend and staycation! Thanks for the mention! By the way what type of business to you guys own? Congrats on getting more clients.

    • John says:

      That’s a good point Thomas, and am sure a few might feel that way, though if done in the right way it could be an absolute benefit and something an employee might not even realize could exist. I don’t think it “should” happen either, though I think that the employers that do things like this are ones that go above and beyond to help their employees out. That said, I agree that it does come down to education and starting early – though the problem is so many do not get it early and more opportunities can only help.

      In terms of our business, we run an advertising/marketing company to help clients with whatever marketing needs they may have. I’ve written a few posts on what we do and love it. 🙂

  • It’s great you guys are doing so well with your business and picking up work during the summer. The blog is your mistress…love it! You definitely need a break. 🙂 Enjoy your time away.

    • John says:

      I agree Brian. I was setting up for major slowness and thankfully I was wrong. I do need a break, though it’ll be hard to stay away from the computer for a whole week.

  • Jake @ Common Cents Wealth says:

    If I owned a company I think I’d want to help my employees make better financial decisions as well. It’d be tough for me to wait idle while they make terrible decisions.

    Have a great next week with your brother and family! Enjoy the time off.

    • John says:

      I am the same way Jake. I think there is a fine line to be had with it, but I would want to make it available and free for them to take advantage of.

  • Matt Becker says:

    My wife actually called me as this segment was airing on NPR. I didn’t get to listen to it, but I was definitely impressed by this employer’s care for his employees. I can only see this type of thing as positive. If you can help your employee’s out financially, not only can you decrease their stress level and increase their security, which will likely increase their ability to achieve at work, but I have to think that you would increase their loyalty and care for you as an employer. It just seems like a win all the way around.

    Enjoy the time off and thanks for the mention!

    • John says:

      I could really tell that by the article Matt. I think it can be a win-win situation for all involved. I think the key is to be balanced and not impose it on the employee, but make it available while also making it applicable to them. If they do not see the benefit, then it’ll not work.

  • I don’t know. My old bosses probably think they were a big help and “really cared” about their employees as well… I don’t really see it that way, though.

    I think that’s nice if an employer goes the extra mile to help their employees!

    • John says:

      I hear ya Holly. I believe there needs to be a genuineness to it and being balanced in the approach. If the employee, generally, senses that you as the employer do not really care then it’s likely all for naught.

  • I don’t think employers should be required to offer this type of advice, but if they’re smart, they will. An employee who’s financially secure and not worrying to death about money all the time will be a much better employee. Have a great week off, John!

    • John says:

      I agree Laurie, it should not be required, but the wise ones will. You’re spot on about the employee aspect, those are my exact thoughts.

  • pauline says:

    It is a great idea to offer a perk that will help your employees get ahead. They will also be happy earning less as they manage their finances better they don’t need so much money for nothing so it’s a win win for the boss 🙂

  • I think that’s kind and smart of Mr. Rosenkratz to offer his employees time with a local financial advisor. It seems win-win for everyone. I hope the Frugal Rules clan enjoys their staycation. Don’t worry, the mistress will be in good hands while you are gone 😉 Thanks for including my post John!

    • John says:

      I could not agree more GMD. I think we’ll enjoy it, though Mrs. Frugal Rules has threatened to lock the “devil box”, as she calls it, in the closet. She might as well take my smart phone too. 😉

  • Alexa says:

    I think it’s very nice that Mr. Rosenkratz cares so much about his employees. I think that by him reaching out to his employees and offering them these type of benefits that they will be much harder working and loyal. It creates a win-win situation.

  • I do think it is a good thing he is looking out for his employees. He understands that having well-rounded employees will only help his business. Yes, he has to pay for these services, but if it works, then he could reap the benefits of more productive employees. There is nothing that states that he has to do this, but he is trying to make a difference in their lives.

    • John says:

      Those are my exact thoughts Grayson. He, by no means, “has” to offer something like this, but it shows his concern and that his vision is a long term one and not paycheck to paycheck.

  • I think it’s sort of like a company wanting their employees to be healthy, because like you said it increases productivity and happiness all around. His employees represent him, so the more financially stress free they are the better. Not that everyone has ulterior motives…maybe he just cares! Thanks for the link l love, and enjoy your time off!

    • John says:

      That’s a great point Tonya. From reading the article, I really don’t think he has ulterior motives and does care. That said, I know that is not always the case.

  • Thanks so much for including my post John! I hope you enjoy your well-deserved staycation!

  • Rita P @ Digital Spikes says:

    Have a great staycation with Mrs. frugal, its good you are taking break to spend time with family. It is very good to know Mr. Rosenkratz helps employees it is always a give and take relationship. Voted at MPFJ , Cheers

  • I always appreciate hearing stories about employers going above and beyond. When I worked in financial services, I was the 401k department where we provided education to the employees of the company that hired us to manage their 401k. Generally they were all larger companies but I thought it was great that they wanted offer education to their employees. It really helped increase 401k enrollment, which unfortunately intimidates a lot of people. I love San Diego! It’s so beautiful. I enjoy an occasional staycation. Sometimes it’s nice just to get things done around the house and relax. Sometimes you need a vacation from the vacation! Enjoy your weekend and time away!

    • John says:

      I agree Tanya, it does intimidate a lot of people and the thing is that it really does not have to. We love San Diego as well – the Ocean is calling us. 🙂

  • In the 5+ years I have been blogging I have yet to be able to really shut myself down. Even when we are on vacation I am still working part of the day.

    • John says:

      It’s been the same for me, especially with the business. I think my wife is going to lock my computer in the closet though. 😉

  • anna says:

    I think that’s so nice that he genuinely cared, but I do think they’re few and far between. I don’t think they necessarily have to, though, but the top level management I’ve always respected were the ones that had a genuine interest in their employees for sure (even if it is for higher productivity, since it’s still a win-win situation).

    • John says:

      I could not agree more Anna. It’ certainly not expected, but the ones that do offer it without ulterior motives do really create a win-win scenario for all involved.

  • Derek - MoneyAhoy.com says:

    I think that’s one of the best ways to actually retain the best people – show that you care and help them out in ways besides just giving them a paycheck. Good on him!

    • John says:

      I could not agree more Derek! When it’s genuine care, then it’s even better and thus, will keep employees there longer – in general.

  • E.M. says:

    If employers offered these types of services, I would see it as an added bonus. I don’t think they should be required to offer them. Some employees may take it the wrong way, and others might not make any use of it. It is nice when employers care about their employees, and they all have different ways of showing it. My bosses like to buy us lunch on occasion, which is pretty nice.

    That’s great that business is picking up in the slow season! Good luck on helping your brother move, and have fun spending quality time with your family!

  • dojo says:

    I never expected my employers to do anything more than provide me with a good working environment and pay my salary in time. We should ALL find out how to better manage our money and stop squandering it like kids.

    He’s done a great thing helping out his staff learn more about money management, but any adult should be able to handle their own money and learn the best ways. I wouldn’t expect anyone to get me a financial adviser, I’d be looking for one myself 🙂

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