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Executive Letter: The Course to Financial Security with ELEVATE Wisconsin

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Rose Oswald PoelsBy Rose Oswald Poels

As we emerge from the pandemic and face historic levels of inflation, people across Wisconsin are experiencing high levels of financial stress and burnout, which is impacting various aspects of their lives and our economy in general. The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) and the Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy and Capability, on which I serve as a member, have partnered with the Financial Fitness Group to help improve the financial well-being of people who live and work in our state. The program is an expansion of a prior collaboration between DFI and the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds, which helped educate over 12,000 state employees over the last year.

ELEVATE Wisconsin is an effective and unbiased financial wellness program designed to enhance the lives of Wisconsin employees and their families while generating positive exposure for businesses.

The cost of financial stress impacts more than an individual’s bank account. Economic challenges affect employees’ health, workplace effectiveness and productivity, long-term financial stability, and ultimately an employer’s bottom line. A few key facts:

  • 68% of the retiring workforce worry about having enough money to retire.
  • 67% of Americans lack the knowledge to make sound financial decisions.
  • 64% of the American workforce is living paycheck-to-paycheck. When economic downturns happen, it causes even more stress on them.
  • 33% of Americans have minimal to no retirement savings.

Why is ELEVATE Wisconsin Important?
Financial education can positively enhance the lives of Wisconsin employees through financial wellness and improve their financial security while fostering financial confidence.

ELEVATE Wisconsin represents truly unbiased, FINRA-compliant financial education that has been proven to be effective and measurable. ELEVATE Wisconsin focuses on improving the financial aptitude, behaviors, and confidence of Wisconsinites and their families.

What is ELEVATE Wisconsin?
ELEVATE Wisconsin is an online wellness program providing interactive, effective, and unbiased instruction in personal finance and investing fundamentals to Wisconsin employees.

DFI is a key sponsor of the program and has worked with the Financial Fitness Group to help develop the program. The Financial Fitness group is an industry leader, having already provided financial education to over 2 million users at more than 1,000 major U.S. organizations. Financial Fitness Group’s financial fitness solutions can assess, score, and educate consumers at a quarter of the cost of conventional methods.

ELEVATE Wisconsin Financial Education Includes:

  • A personalized financial wellness platform where participants can access tutorials, interactive calculators, videos, and more!
  • Pre- and post-lesson quizzes to determine knowledge change and measure program effectiveness.
  • Certificates, points, and badges to motivate users to keep on learning.
  • Access to the Financial Fitness SCORE™, a Financial Fitness Checkup that allows users to benchmark their overall financial health — aptitude, behavior, and confidence.
  • 24/7 online access from any device — smartphone, tablet, or computer.
  • A reporting dashboard where administrators can access real-time data on overall organizational metrics, user progress, financial assessments, learning data, and most popular courses.

What Role Can Banks Play?
As employers are trusted partners in financial education, this program is designed to be delivered through the workplace. Banks can join as program sponsors, offering the program to their business customers (for example, small businesses or nonprofit organizations that would like to make the program available to their employees) as well as to the bank’s own employees. The online platform will be co-branded for the sponsor and the business, so users (employees) see the bank’s logo as well as their employer’s.

We look forward to getting the word out on this important financial wellness program that aims to empower more than 100,000 employees and engage over 500 employers throughout Wisconsin by 2025.