Being a millionaire is so nice that Dave Ramsey did it twice. The renowned personal finance guru, author and TV personality famously lost $4 million in personal wealth in his 20s, only to pick himself up, dust himself off and apply the hard lessons he learned to making money and keeping it this time.
“I did stupid stuff,” Ramsey said of his first turn at being wealthy. His frank admission — and the millions of Americans who likely would say the same about their finances — makes Ramsey uniquely qualified to tell employers how to help employees dig themselves out of the giant financial hole so many have made.
First up: Be careful what vernacular you use to describe benefit programs. Don’t “use words and terms that sound like they should be used in the boardroom of a financial company,” Ramsey said. “Don’t say ‘financial;’ say ‘money.’ You have to put the cookies on a shelf where everyone can reach them.”
Second, get in touch with your inner salesman. “Don’t sell the product; sell what it does. Don’t sell 401(k), mutual fund and how much you can save by X age,” Ramsey advised. “Sell employees on, ‘You can leave something to your family,’ ‘You can take that world cruise you’ve always dreamed about,’ and ‘If you work this stinkin’ hard, you ought to have something to show for it.’”
Third, show employees how to lay a foundation for success. “Most people don’t have a game plan. I know people who manage P&L for an entire company but have no budget at home,” Ramsey said. “You have to tell your money what to do or it will leave and go to someone else,” he added, stressing the power and importance of personal budgeting.
Ramsey’s advice may sound like a lot to ask of benefits pros, already stuck between a rock and a hard place of balancing the needs of their company with the needs of their employees. But if it helps, he knows you’re more than up to the challenge.
“I know you’re heroes,” he said. “You just have to go back home and be heroes to your people and you’ll become a hero to your organization.”
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