Prudential of Taiwan is offering a Financial Wellness program that helps companies’ employees better prepare for the future and become financially secure.
How long will you live? What kind of health condition are you likely to experience? What kind of lifestyle do you hope to enjoy in your “Golden Years”? How much money will you need to save now in order to achieve your goals?
If you are like most people in Taiwan, you probably don’t have realistic answers to these questions.
Prudential life Insurance Company of Taiwan, the local subsidiary of U.S.-based Prudential Financial Inc., recently unveiled The State of Financial Wellness in Taiwan, a white paper based on the results of a first-of-its-kind census of Taiwanese people’s financial health and preparedness. The census reveals that while nearly 90% of respondents consider it important to prepare for future healthcare costs and long-term care, only about one-third believe they can save enough to be adequately prepared, and a scant 9% consider that they are financially secure.
“Finances are complicated and confusing, and many people are reluctant to tackle these issues,” observes Dylan Tyson, Prudential Taiwan’s President and CEO. Further, behavioral economics studies have shown that most people have difficulty envisioning their future selves with accuracy. “Your brain tends to view your future self as a stranger,” Tyson notes.
Yet the consequences of ill-preparedness are enormous for both individuals and society. Fully 25% of Taiwan’s population is expected to be 65 years old or older by 2026. Over the past 20 years, longevity has increased by a decade, raising the specter of people outliving their savings. Conversely, those who die early may have unnecessarily lived an overly austere lifestyle, depriving them of the leisure and relaxation they desired.
To help close the financial literacy gap and enable people to adequately prepare for the future, Prudential is introducing its Financial Wellness program to Taiwan. This program is a series of seminars offered by Prudential of Taiwan to corporations and associations free of charge as a benefit to their employees or members.
The program consists of four modules: Introduction to Financial Planning, Risk Planning, Investment Planning, and Retirement Planning. Each is delivered by highly skilled financial experts. At the nearly one dozen companies that have already hosted this program in Taiwan, employees’ response has been a 97% satisfaction rate. “These programs have been so popular they have been standing room only,” says Tyson.
The high satisfaction levels are a natural consequence not only of the quality of the program but of how it is offered – within the work environment where people are surrounded by colleagues and friends and can get the support they need to face these difficult questions, observes Tyson.
Prudential’s Financial Wellness survey showed that 68% of Taiwanese workers want more financial education, and that 77% would be more likely to stay with their current employer if this education is provided. “This sort of benefit assures them that their employer really does care about their overall well-being,” says Tyson. “It demonstrates that the company is taking care of its employees and helping to provide the financial security they need, which in turn helps to attract the best talent.”
Tyson says that he fought hard for Taiwan to be the first overseas market to launch Prudential’s Financial Wellness program, based on his observation of the great need and anticipated receptivity of the market.
For example, although Taiwanese are world-renowned for their high savings rates, Taiwan also experiences very low interest rates, which prevents savings from growing sufficiently to provide the floor of income needed for long-lived seniors. Looking outside of Taiwan for higher returns, however, necessarily entails a high degree of foreign currency risk. How does one navigate these myriad options to balance risk and return for adequate lifelong income?
Such questions are addressed within the Financial Wellness program, providing consumers with the tools they need to prepare for a happy future.
“The need for financial education is great in Taiwan,” says Tyson. And with the rapid aging of society, “We need to take effective action now. This is an area that we should all be concerned about.”