Health Care Provider Hopes ‘Girls Just Want to Have Funds’

Woman Holding Dollar Bill

Although it’s clear that most American workers need to save more, some companies and organizations are putting a particular focus on women and their financial planning needs.

BayCare Health System in Clearwater, Florida, created a financial program targeting women in their workforce in 2010. Barbara Wilson, manager of retirement for the community-based health care system, says three factors pushed her team to target women: More than three-quarters of the system’s workforce were women, generic savings seminars were not well attended, and women historically haven’t been good savers.

“Retirement is a long way off for a good majority of our people,” Wilson says. “We were challenged in getting people to think about it.”

About 140 women, or 1 percent of BayCare’s workforce of 14,000, attended the seminars in 2010, called “Girls Just Want to Have Funds.” Although comparison data were not available, Wilson says the seminars were successful because attendance was significantly higher than any previous attempt to educate BayCare’s workforce. Workers are asking for another set of classes.

Meanwhile, after learning from a 2008 American Nurses Association survey that nearly 60 percent of nurses 45 to 60 had done nothing to prepare for retirement, the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement partnered with the association to create the Nurses’ Investor Education Project. Ten nurses, trained as financial educators, have held 29 workshops nationwide and more than 700 nurses have attended.

The workshops covered such topics as basic terms, sources of retirement income and options for developing a retirement plan.

“We needed to start at the beginning, because many of these nurses didn’t know the basics,” says Cindy Hounsell, president of the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement.

Evaluations from the workshops show 75 percent of participants are using the information as well as online financial resources that most didn’t realize were available beforehand, Hounsell says.

“When nurses understand the [financial] language, and someone sits down and shows them what this means to them, the change can be amazing,” Hounsell says. “Employers need to emphasize this more for women, mostly because they are less geared to save for retirement because they have so many other priorities.”

Patty Kujawa is a writer based in Milwaukee. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com.