Nationwide Support Services Finds Validation from Harvard Business School by Providing Financial Education to Employees

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A recent study from Harvard Business School suggests too many U.S. employees understand little about finances, household economics and budgeting -- and employers would benefit from teaching financial literacy. Nationwide Support Services (NWS) is one of the pioneer corporations that has implemented programs to bring financial awareness to their employees. By providing an online, "edutainment" platform, NWS employees have already begun experiencing the benefits.

That's why we invested in developing them for our employees -- but there is still much work to be done.

A recent study from Harvard Business School suggests too many U.S. employees understand little about finances, household economics and budgeting -- and employers would benefit from teaching financial literacy.

"Lack of financial skills is and continues to be a cause for concern," write professors Annamaria Lusardi and Peter Tufano, who report that the "vast majority" of employees are unable to grasp basic financial concepts. In a Harvard Business Review article published in November, the authors claim that 'Teaching Workers About the Perils of Debt,' will eventually lead to a more productive, financially secure workforce. With credit card debt at an all-time high, they argue that tools to make smarter financial choices are among the most valuable resources a company can offer to its employees.

Nationwide Support Services began providing these types of innovative financial tools for their employees more than a year ago. One method used by Nationwide is an innovative "edutainment" game. The Frugality Game™ is an online, interactive experience that teaches players to be smart, spend right and live well. By engaging in a series of challenges and using online tools, employees gain financial education, household financial strength, access to solutions, a community and improved lifestyles. The Frugality Game™ is dedicated to helping people achieve financial strength, regardless of income level.

"We knew a long time ago how important these types of financial tools were," said Joanne Garneau, CEO of Nationwide Support Services. "That's why we invested in developing them for our employees -- but there is still much work to be done."

The Frugality Game™ will launch to the public in January 2010 and will partner with other major U.S. companies in an awareness campaign to help re-build financial strength in the American household. This movement begins in January 2010 with a summit in Los Angeles, California. The goal is to gather corporate, academic, philanthropic and political leaders together in order to find real solutions to the financial perils facing American families.

To read more by Lusardi and Tufano, visit http://hbr.org/2009/11/teach-workers-about-the-perils-of-debt/ .

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Heather Allsopp
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