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New Perk: Time Off to Address Financial Health

By Tara Siegel Bernard

Not many employers provide workers with a paid day off to put their financial lives in order. And probably fewer still offer up to $1,000 to each employee to seed an emergency savings account.

But Adam Moore, a 45-year-old technology contract manager in Atlanta, was relieved to have both of those perks last year when he learned his wife was facing $100,000 worth of surgery to treat a benign but aggressive tumor that was damaging her jaw.

The emergency savings account covered the out-of-pocket costs — and he made constructive use of his paid day off to “sit down and understand how to structure the financial strategy to handle” their predicament, he said. Mr. Moore soon changed his health insurance so they were better protected.

Mr. Moore’s employer, SunTrust Banks, provided these benefits as part of a financial wellness program, something that Bill Rogers, the bank’s chief executive, decided to introduce about two-and-a-half years ago after he came to a startling realization: Even his own workers — who he had assumed were more knowledgeable about money and in better financial shape than most people — were making poor financial choices, like borrowing against their 401(k) plans. And many of them were ill-prepared for a financial emergency.

“We were exactly the same as all Americans,” he said in an interview. “It’s hard to think about your 401(k) match if you are worrying about your utility bill.”

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Source: The New York Times