Wealth, Health and Well-being
26 Apr, 2024

Graeme Brien CA (SA), Director at Phoenix Financial Benefits

 

 

 

The Covid pandemic has had profound changes on employee benefits, as it forced employers to holistically consider their staff as a valuable resource. While it has been important for many years to ensure staff have sufficient savings to retire, it has now become as important that staff members remain healthy both in body and mind while they are still working, yet at the same time saving towards a well-earned retirement.

 

Up until recently, wealth and health issues were addressed in different ways. Wealth issues were addressed through retirement fund instruments and health issues through medical schemes. The Covid pandemic highlighted the fact that mental well-being issues and the positive mental health of staff was largely overlooked by the retirement fund industry.

 

The retirement fund industry responded to this  challenge to create integrated wealth, health and well-being products.

 

The results were very positive, as the industry has designed new products and additional benefits and services that benefit and reward employees for positive engagement. The main objective is that employees engage in supporting the three pillars.

 

Phoenix Financial Benefits is pleased to share the following market trends with you.

 

 

Building Wealth

 

 

The main objective of building wealth is to motivate employees to save more and preserve their savings so that they may be able to retire comfortably.

 

Building wealth through the compulsory retirement savings offered by employers is the easier product to motivate employees to meet their objective. Additional voluntary contributions are allowed in all retirement funds, with mostly no cost implications.  The tax advantages of retirement fund savings are material, with deductions offered up to 27,5% of taxable income, as well as the investment returns being exempt from tax.

 

Employers can educate and motivate their staff to contribute as much to their retirement savings as is affordable to them. Many employers use the opportunity during salary increase time to motivate their staff to increase their contributions. Some retirement fund administrators have responded by offering members in retirement funds “booster investments” that reward employees for increasing their contributions. In some cases, members can benefit from additional investments, simply by registering and using health or wellbeing services on the fund  administrators’ portal.

 

Staying Healthy

 

 

The objective of staying healthy is to get employees to change their lifestyle habits to healthier options. Healthy staff members are not only more productive, but it has also led to fewer death and disability claims and could go some way in keeping insured rates from increasing. By ensuring that their staff have access to a medical aid plan also helps employees to meet their objective.

 

The health industry knows that healthy members are less of a burden to the medical aid scheme and have moved to design products that reward members for living a healthy lifestyle.

 

A range of products have been designed that benefit members through loyalty programs if they eat right, regularly exercise and drink and smoke less. These programs reward through cash back, discount with a range retailer, reduced gym and running memberships and discount on lifestyle products like travel and accommodation.

 

 

Staying Well

 

 

The covid pandemic exposed how damaging mental stress can be on staff members’ health and productivity at work. It has been a sickness that has largely been ignored until now. The industry has responded by offering increased support to alleviate the increase in mental stress by adding products that allow members free access to professional services. These include free access to debt counsellors, access to virtual medical and psychological counselling, assistance with SARS e-filing and financial wellbeing counselling and funeral support services

 

Most retirement fund administrators now offer free access to industry mobile applications which create an awareness of the support services.  Through these applications members are continually being kept up to date on their fund and benefit values and on the available support services.

 

Members are now able to track their loyalty rewards for meeting their wealth, health and wellbeing objectives.

 

We find the additional support, through retirement fund vehicles refreshing and comforting.  The retirement fund industry has, through member education and support, become a holistic, supportive, user-friendly industry, aimed at the wealth, health and well-being of its members.

 

 

ENDS

 

Phoenix Financial Benefits – We are proud to be a service provider in this industry.

Please visit  our website for more information at www.phoenixfin.co.za

Our contact details are:  

Tel : 021 702 7960 or  

info@phoenixfin.co.za

 

Author

@Graeme Brien
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