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Topic of the Month

Work and Money

You can’t really separate work and money: The job you hold largely determines your income, benefits, retirement savings plans, and more. During the month of September, we’re going to focus on making the most of your hard-earned money and the benefits you may be overlooking!

Last year, personal savings rose as conscientious workers reined in their spending. In fact, personal savings jumped to 5.5% last year from 4.6% in 2013, according to data from Hearts and Wallets, a financial research firm. In the same period, average household savings allotted to employer-sponsored retirement plans fell to 22% from 29%. Among households eligible for a plan, only 56% participated, down from 60% the previous year.

If your company offers these perks, you may be leaving money on the table.  As the labor market starts to heat up, more businesses are adding or enhancing other benefits, as well — but workers might not be cashing in on these perks.

Tuition Reimbursement/Professional Development
Many organizations do not publicize their tuition reimbursement programs well. You might need to take the initiative and ask HR what’s available, and then talk to your boss about how you’ll make up for any out-of-the-office time your classwork might require.

Physical Fitness/Wellness
More companies are adding wellness benefits too, although the options vary widely. The most common wellness resource is some kind of fitness-related newsletter, which about 60% of companies in a recent SHRM survey said they offer. About a third fully or partially subsidize gym memberships, although the onus is often on the employee to submit reimbursement forms. Beyond that, more companies today are offering tools, often via an app you can access from the privacy of your smartphone, that help workers manage stress, relax more and sleep better.

Financial Counseling
Most Financial wellness programs are modeled after physical wellness programs. Since fitness-related programs have been well-received, and because employers figured out that workers who are stressed about money are less happy and productive, more companies are adding financial counseling as a benefit.

These programs, in which you can generally participate for free, may include finance classes, one-on-one counseling sessions, or even apps and video games. They tend to be personalized to help employees reach their own personal financial goals — whether paying down debt, following a budget or saving money.

Visit the MCUCD website throughout the month of September, as we take a closer look at how to make the most of your hard earned money and managing your finances and benefits wisely.


Montana Credit Unions for Community Development (or MCUCD) is the award-winning, charitable arm of the Montana Credit Union Network. A state-wide nonprofit organization, MCUCD works together with the state's credit unions to improve the lives and financial independence of all Montanans.