Pre-Launch Planning

Pre-Launch Planning

| August 29, 2023

Thinking About Adding a Financial Wellness Program? Here are 3 Things to Consider

Callan’s 16th annual Defined Contribution (DC) Trends Survey offers the latest developments on a number of retirement plan topics, including SECURE 2.0 (pre-passage), diversity and inclusion, plan design, governance, legislation, investment management and participant advice. If you’re thinking about implementing a financial wellness program for your employees, the survey also offers key insights into the process, including these three key components.

Designing and Monitoring a Program

The survey found that the responsibility for designing and monitoring the financial wellness program most often lands on the HR staff’s plate, rather than a governance committee. In addition, unlike most defined contribution plans, financial wellness generally does not fall under ERISA. This means employers that add benefits outside the existing legislative or regulatory framework do so at some level of risk. The survey’s authors also suggest that plan sponsors consider how to best monitor and manage these benefits. While the two programs (retirement and financial wellness) may interact, they are typically monitored by separate people or teams, which can lead to efficiency gaps. DC plan fiduciaries may require regular reporting on the financial wellness program in conjunction with their ongoing plan monitoring to ensure both programs are operating optimally.

Prioritizing Needs and Objectives

The survey revealed that the top financial wellness needs were in the areas of savings behaviors and roadblocks to saving, including budgeting and debt management. Nine out of 10 respondents indicated retirement savings was a top financial need (3.9 weighted average rank out of 5). 63% highlighted emergency savings needs (2.3) and 56% called out either budgeting (2.0) or debt management (1.8). One-quarter reported offering some sort of incentives to participate in a financial wellness program.


  • 41% - Internal Survey

  • 19% - Individual Feedback

  • 6% - Focus Group

  • 25% - No Means


  • 1.9 - Retirement Savings

  • 2.3 - Emergency Savings

  • 2.0 - Budgeting

  • 1.8 - Debt Management

  • 1.6 - Healthcare Spending

  • 1.5 - Student Loans 

5 = most important. Total ranking is a weighted avg. score

Measuring Effectiveness and Determining Success

Respondents prioritized usage, participant feedback or surveys, and return on investment to measure financial wellness program success.


  • 4.6 - Usage

  • 2.5 - Participant feedback or surveys 

  • 1.8 - Return on investment

  • 1.8 - Impact on DC plan savings behaviors

  • 1.6 - Increased engagement

  • 1.2 - Cost

  • 1.1 - Ease of administration

5 = most important. Total ranking is a weighted avg. score

Callan’s 2023 Defined Contribution (DC) Plans Survey can be viewed at: A free registration is required to access the survey.

We are happy to help, if you have any questions or would like additional insight, please feel free to reach out to me at or 800.307.0376


Disclosure: For plan sponsor use only, not for use with participants or the general public. This information is not intended as authoritative guidance or tax or legal advice. You should consult with your attorney or tax advisor for guidance on your specific situation.Investment Advice and 3(38) Investment Fiduciary services offered through Diversified Financial Advisors, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor. 3(16) Administrative Fiduciary Services provided by PISTL Service Corporation. Discretionary Trustee services provided by Printing Industries 401k Trustees. 

RP-845-0523 Tracking #1-05376258 (Exp. 05/24)