In an interview with Manage HR magazine, Founder and CEO, Liz Davidson, shares how the company changes financial lives with personalized guidance delivered across channels as an employer-sponsored employee benefit.
What inspired you to create of Financial Finesse?
We are actually the first independent financial wellness company. While working at my own investment management firm, I noticed that even among our clients—a very affluent and educated group—there was still a significant knowledge gap regarding financial planning. This got me wondering, “what about everyone else?” After leading a few pro bono financial planning seminars and seeing how impactful and appreciated they were, I realized that bringing unbiased financial guidance to the 99% was my passion so I founded Financial Finesse.
How has the financial wellness space evolved over time?
When we started financial planning wasn’t available to most people, let alone provided as a benefit. Over the years, we’ve demonstrated how investing in financial wellness is a win-win. It helps employees reduce financial stress, improve retirement preparedness, and more. At the same time, it saves employers money while improving productivity and morale. Once employers experienced this, we became a trusted partner. Today 100% of our clients work with us on long-term contracts.
What are some of the services Financial Finesse offers?
Our ‘Best Practices’ model is an omnichannel service including highly personalized and ongoing one-on-one coaching with CFP® professionals (via phone and live chat), AI-powered virtual coaching, live workshops, webcasts, educational tools, and content.
In 2021 we launched AimeeTM (Artificial Intelligence Motivating Employees Everywhere), a first-of-its-kind virtual coach designed to help employees progress as efficiently as possible. In just a few minutes of ‘chatting’ with Aimee, users receive a Financial Wellness ScoreTM and a personalized action plan. From there, Aimee helps users complete action steps, achieve milestones, and, if needed, connect with a live Financial Coach. It’s fun, game-like, and addictive in the best possible way. Since introducing Aimee, users are progressing more quickly than ever.
We also have a Financial Wellness Think TankTM that helps partners understand their workforces more deeply, uncover opportunities, and track ROI.
What exactly does the onboarding process entail?
For large companies, the process begins with taking the time to fully understand employee demographics and employer goals—from addressing retention to designing a more cohesive wellness program. We then create a tailored solution including launch and communications plans, ensuring everything resonates culturally. For medium and small employers, we offer turnkey solutions because budget and speed are priorities.
What sets you a notch above the market competition?
Financial Finesse is fully independent, and we do not sell any financial products or manage any assets. This allows our experienced Financial Coaches to focus exclusively on the user’s financial well-being. And, because they know they will never be sold anything, it allows users to relax and open up.
We also invest heavily in technology. In addition to Aimee, another differentiator is our ability to seamlessly integrate related benefits into the user experience to “close the action gap” and help people take advantage of them right away. For example, if a user is not getting their full company match, they will receive an action step to help them do so. Along with information on how 401(k) matches work and why they are important, we’ll surface the user’s retirement plan, so action is only one click away. We’ve got hundreds of integration points and counting.
Finally, our services are proven to change lives and drive ROI. An analysis from our Think Tank published by the Society of Actuaries found that a 50,000-person employer could save over $23,000,000 annually by incrementally shifting its median workforce Financial Wellness Score from four to six. This estimate considered savings from reduced garnishment processing fees, absenteeism, FICA tax payments (thanks to increased utilization of FSAs/HSAs), health care costs, delayed retirements, and turnover. A recent five-year study from our Think Tank saw a 171% increase in the percentage of users who agreed with the statement, “I am on track to reach my income goal in retirement.”
What does the future hold for the company?
At this stage, we are growing more rapidly than ever through a strategy we call mass personalization, which enables us to reach and positively impact many more employees in the most individualized way imaginable. This approach leverages both AI-driven, digital coaching and live coaching to provide an experience that grows and evolves with users.
We Provide Unlimited, Unbiased, And Confidential Financial Coaching To Employees Across Channels Without Charging Them A Single Penny
Going forward, we are investing heavily in AI to make our coaching even more personalized, relevant, and seamless (across live and virtual coaching). We aim to surprise and delight users by anticipating their most pressing needs and providing instant access to information, tools, and resources that will improve their finances immediately.