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Bank of America data finds that 2022 was a solid  year for consumer spending, but the new year brings new challenges

Bank of America data finds that 2022 was a solid  year for consumer spending, but the new year brings new challenges

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Bank of America Institute released new analysis today which shows that, while 2022 was a solid year for consumer spending, the New Year brings with it cross-currents for U.S. consumers, including a potentially weaker job market and easing inflation pressures in 2023. Although January and February are typically lighter months, New Year resolutions to get healthy may provide some support for spending.

BofA aggregated credit and debit card data indicates 2022 was a strong year for consumer spending, with total card spending per household up 5.9% year-over-year (YoY).

There was a stark difference, however, between retail/goods spending and non-retail spending (which includes services such as travel and entertainment); average YoY spending growth for retail in 2022 was 3.7% compared to a much stronger 10% in services.

2023 starts with consumers still facing higher living costs, especially utilities, partially driven by a colder December in 2022 than the prior year. BofA internal data shows that the average utility payment per customer increased 13% YoY in December, even as natural gas prices have dropped by more than 50% since the peak price levels in August 2022. And while the labor market remains tight, there are signs of wage growth moderation. According to BofA internal data, consumer after-tax wages decelerated to 2.7% YoY (3-month moving average) in December, from the high of 8% in April 2022.

With these trends in mind, a new year often signals a fresh start and good intentions, illustrated by an uptick in web searches for “gym memberships” each January. BofA internal data shows that between 2010 and 2019, credit and debit card spending per household at fitness clubs surged in January of each year, after relatively low levels during the winter holiday months. However, as of December 2022, card spending per household at fitness clubs remained 35% lower than pre-pandemic levels. Part of this weakness could be due to the rise of in-home fitness, which gained popularity since the pandemic because of migration out of city centers and a preference for social distancing, especially among older generations.

Other highlights of the Consumer Checkpoint include:

  • Total credit and debit card spending per household was up 5.9% YoY for all of 2022, with the YoY rate of growth slowing to 2.2% in December.
  • Overall total credit and debit card spend, which makes up over 20% of total payments, was up5% YoY in December, as total payments growth across all channels (Automated Clearing House (ACH), Bill Pay, Credit and Debit Card, Wires, Person-to-Person, Cash and Check) increased 1.4% YoY.
  • In 2022, in-home fitness spending (based on both cards and ACH) accounted for 16% of total fitness spending on average, down from 24% in 2020 but higher than the 11% in 2019.

“After a solid year in 2022, we expect the consumer to feel the weight of 2023. However, for now, they are heading to the gym in OK financial shape” said David Tinsley, senior economist for Bank of America Institute. “While the year is just beginning, a reduction in cost-of-living pressures and some easing in the labor market are expected to play a big role in determining the evolution of consumer spending.”

About the Consumer Checkpoint

Consumer Checkpoint is a regular publication from Bank of America Institute. It aims to provide a holistic and real-time estimate of US consumers’ spending and their financial well-being, leveraging the depth and breadth of Bank of America proprietary data. Such data is not intended to be reflective or indicative of, and should not be relied upon as, the results of operations, financial conditions, or performance of Bank of America.

See the Consumer Checkpoint for methodology and definitions.

About Bank of America Institute

Bank of America Institute is dedicated to uncovering powerful insights that move business and society forward. Established in 2022, the Institute is a think tank that draws on data and analyses from across the bank and the world to provide timely and original perspectives on the economy, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), and global transformation. The Institute leverages the depth and breadth of the bank’s proprietary data, from 67 million consumer and small business clients, 54 million verified digital users, $3.8T in total payments in 2021 and $1.4T in consumer and wealth management deposits. From this robust data set, the Institute provides a unique perspective on the health of the economy. It also elevates thought leadership from throughout the bank that addresses long-term trends and shares these findings with the general public.

Bank of America

Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 68 million consumer and small business clients with approximately 3,900 retail financial centers, approximately 16,000 ATMs and award-winning digital banking with approximately 56 million verified digital users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management, corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business households through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations across the United States, its territories and approximately 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

 

Treasure Coast Business is a news service and magazine published in print, via e-newsletter and online at tcbusiness.com by Indian River Media Group. For more information or to report news email [email protected]

Jan. 13, 2023|

Dyer Difference Award Helps Children in Crisis

Dyer Difference Award Helps Children in Crisis

 

John Dyer and Jonathan Holmes present the December Dyer Difference Award to Debbie Butler of Guardians for New Futures.

A sad reality of life in 2022 is that there are children among us who have been victims of sexual and physical abuse by the very people they trust and love more than anyone in the world. Understandably, removing a child from a dangerous living situation is simply not enough. That’s where Guardians for New Futures and the recently opened Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) come in. The CAC serves children throughout the 19th Judicial Circuit, which encompasses Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, and Okeechobee Counties and provides a multidisciplinary team of professionals to coordinate all the necessary resources and services that child might need at the most difficult time. By combining all the services in one place and with one cohesive team of professionals, a child who has already been traumatized can choose to share the story just once in a setting that is designed to be comfortable and child-focused. Since opening the doors in July, CAC has already served nearly 200 sexually and physically abused children, and is on track to serve approximately 1,200 each year. The Dyer Difference Award will help aid in the creation of a Healing Garden on site.

Toys for Tots Coordinator Star Knudson accepts the Dyer Difference Award from General Manager Jonathan Hardie.

Even during the happiest season of the year, we all need a little magic to believe in, especially those among us who are most tender of age. In Indian River County, the spirit of Christmas lasts all year long, and there is no question at all about the existence of Santa and Christmas miracles. Last year, Toys for Tots of Indian River County distributed more than 52,000 toys and helped make Christmas a little brighter for 8,269 children. Since its inception in 1947, the Marine Corp’s Toys for Tots program has been providing holiday toys and gifts for children who might not otherwise receive them. Seventy-five years later, the need is larger than ever to help children throughout Indian River County, and volunteers have been working hard all year long to meet the needs and create a few Christmas miracles right in our own backyard.

The Dyer Difference Award is all about celebrating the beauty and kindness in our midst. For the Dyer family and the members of the Dyer staff, the award and the $6,000 in donations made monthly between the St. Lucie and Indian River Counties are all about helping to make a positive difference in the community. For the recipients, it’s an acknowledgement of their tireless efforts to do the same and a much-needed financial boost to help further their missions. If you’d like to nominate a non-profit organization for the Dyer Difference Award, please visit www.dyerdifference.org or find Dyer Difference on Facebook.

 

Treasure Coast Business is a news service and magazine published in print, via e-newsletter and online at tcbusiness.com by Indian River Media Group. For more information or to report news email [email protected]

Dec. 23, 2022|

Treasure Coast Business News Nov. 29, 2022

*|MC:SUBJECT|*

FPL donates $50,000 to 
support Florida SBDC disaster recovery efforts

The Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of small business assistance, is committed to ensuring that small business owners impacted by Hurricane Ian receive the resources and assistance they need to rebuild and recover. The network is pleased to announce that Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) has provided the Florida SBDC with $50,000 to support the network’s continued efforts to help small businesses impacted by the storm...Read More>>

'Tis the season to share your good news with thousands of regular readers and customers

We know good things are happening with your business, and wouldn't it be nice to share that good news with customers, other businesses, residents, and visitors to the Treasure Coast? You can do that with just a simple press release or email to us at [email protected]

Data speaks volumes first free workshop/webinar of Marcia Salmon 2022 fall series


Learn how to get your agency data and statistics ready to create a compelling story to incorporate in your Statement of Need. This webinar is ideal for new non-profits that are eager to submit a grant application but have little or no data available in a suitable format... Read More>>

IRSC Promise Program 2023 questions and answers

 

On Nov. 16, 2022, Indian River State College (IRSC) revealed the IRSC Promise Program 2023—its most significant investment in eliminating barriers to higher education. Promise 2023 offers tuition-free Associate degrees for qualifying 2023 graduates from public and public charter high schools in Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie counties, as well as eligible, in-district home school graduates.
 
Here are some answers to commonly asked questions
...
 Read More>>

A Day’s Journey: self-discovery and personal growth workshop

Self-discovery doesn’t require you to reinvent yourself (unless you want to). You can simply desire to understand yourself better.  We all question who we truly are at some point on our journey...Read More

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Dec. 1, 2022|

A Day’s Journey: self-discovery and personal growth workshop

A Day’s Journey: self-discovery and personal growth workshop

 

 

Self-discovery doesn’t require you to reinvent yourself (unless you want to). You can simply desire to understand yourself better. We all question who we truly are at some point on our journey. Life gets busy, we get distracted with our goals and “to do’s”, raising our family and making others happy. Slowly, unintentionally along the way, we can lose our sense of self. You were in everyone else’s backyard but who was in yours? So, it makes sense if you are confused about what you want, your place in the world or your purpose. Plus, with the complexity in the world right now, it’s hard not to feel some level of stress. This workshop builds on how you can be compassionate with yourself and others but not take on the feelings of others that drain you and prohibit you living your life to the fullest. Here is one of my best coaching tips. You are the one you are waiting for! There is nothing out there that is going to provide sustainable joy and an optimal life- no job, no spouse, no achievement, no home, or vacation. Sustainable joy and the ability to give and receive love is an inside job and requires knowing yourself. And to do that, we need help observing our mind and behavior because it’s hard to step outside ourselves and be able to see gaps and suggest changes that would lead to our growth. Trust me, I have worked with the best and the brightest and we don’t see the water we swim in. Working together as a small, supportive group, we will draw on different techniques and concepts such as the Enneagram, Mindfulness, a consciousness model called “Living Above the Line” and other exercises and embodiment practices to gain a new perspective, uncover a deeper awareness about ourselves, access strengths we possess and shift our thought processes in ways that better support our thriving in life. Some of the many positive changes you may experience:

Get out of your comfort zone and try something new

Uncover unconscious patterns and habits that sabotage your enjoyment of life

Let go of other people’s image of you and follow your internal compass

Spend time visualizing your ideal self and lifestyle

Access a sense of calm and balance in your life

Experience heart opening and personal growth

Strengthen your meaningful relationships in a mutually beneficial wayStrategize your next moves

Feel supported and understood by like-minded folks that want to expand and grow just like you do

You’ll grow and change as you discover more about yourself. Trust me, your starting point will feel nothing like the finish line. I promise you a day of personal growth, renewal, and fun! Fee: $350 and may be paid by Venmo, PayPal, Zelle or check prior to workshop date. Group limited to 8. Please RSVP early and claim your spot/payment reserves your space.

RSVP/Questions: [email protected]

Location: Vero Beach (specific address provided once registered)

 

Nov. 25, 2022|

Florida Power & Light donates $50,000 to support Florida SBDC disaster recovery efforts

FPL donates $50,000 to support Florida SBDC disaster recovery efforts

 

 

The Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of small business assistance, is committed to ensuring that small business owners impacted by Hurricane Ian receive the resources and assistance they need to rebuild and recover. The network is pleased to announce that Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) has provided the Florida SBDC with $50,000 to support the network’s continued efforts to help small businesses impacted by the storm.

“Since Ian first impacted our state, our network has been hard at work helping small businesses access the resources they need to rebuild and reopen,” said Greg Britton, state director of the Florida SBDC Network. “We are so appreciative of FPL’s support and their commitment to small businesses. It is through their generous support that we are able to continue to do the important work we do to help businesses recover.”

Hurricane Ian made landfall in Southwest Florida as one of the strongest hurricanes to hit the United States. The powerful storm has caused widespread damage to small business owners across the state.

The Florida SBDC Network serves as part of the state’s Emergency Support Function (ESF-18) for Business and Industry. In this role, the network plays an integral role following a disaster in helping coordinate recovery efforts and helping small business owners apply for disaster assistance.

In partnership with the SBA, state, and local partners, the network has opened and staffed Business Recovery Centers (BRCs) in hard-hit communities where impacted business owners can come for in-person assistance in understanding and applying for state and federal disaster loans. The Florida SBDC has also deployed its fleet of mobile assistance centers (MACs) - a fleet of recovery vehicles - into communities to establish BRCs where physical facilities are not easily available. MACs have been on the ground in the impacted area since immediately after the storm. These mobile units have brought support to eleven counties, helping to facilitate over 2,100 hours of service provided to impacted business owners through consulting at mobile and fixed site business recovery centers.

Florida Power & Light Company’s donation enables the network to extend its MAC and staff deployment in the field to support long-term recovery efforts, ensuring small business owners have access to critical resources

“I believe Florida’s SBDC is the best small business support network in the country,” said Pamela Rauch, vice president of external affairs and economic development for FPL. “They have been on the ground for more than a month in those areas hardest hit by Hurricane Ian and we’re happy to help them extend that support. Small businesses are the foundation of Florida’s economy and getting them back on their feet is critical to rebuilding not just the regions affected by the storm but the entire state.”

FPL’s Office of Economic Development works to attract new and expanding companies and capital investment to the state by providing Infrastructure assessments, energy rate quotes, information on energy efficiency programs and more. FPL also provides a small business tool to help companies identify and map potential customers and suppliers, and map demographics, labor force and consumer expenditure data. 

For more information on how the network is helping small businesses recover from Hurricane Ian, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org/disaster.

 

About the Florida SBDC Network:

For more than 45 years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy. In 2021, the Florida SBDC Network delivered more than 157,000 hours of consulting to more than 18,000 small business clients – resulting in business owners securing over half a billion in capital, securing more than $380 million in government contracts, impacting 28,930 jobs, increasing sales by over $4 billion, and creating 778 new businesses.

With over 40 offices statewide, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Department of Defense, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

 

 

Treasure Coast Business is a news service and magazine published in print, via e-newsletter and online at tcbusiness.com by Indian River Media Group. For more information or to report news email [email protected]

Nov. 25, 2022|

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Activates Business Damage Assessment

 Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Activates Business Damage Assessment

 

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) announced the activation of the Business Damage Assessment Survey to gauge the impact of Hurricane Nicole on Florida businesses. Survey responses will assist the state in expediting recovery efforts by providing data on the needs of affected businesses.

On Nov. 10, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 22-256, declaring a state of emergency for the entire State of Florida. St. Lucie County encouraging any businesses impacted by Hurricane Nicole to complete the survey.

“The Business Damage Assessment Survey assists DEO and its federal, state and local partners in understanding physical and economic impacts to inform decision-making. I encourage businesses impacted by Hurricane Nicole to complete the survey at www.FloridaDisaster.biz,” said DEO Secretary Dane Eagle.

Results from the Business Damage Assessment Survey will be shared with various federal, state and local agencies to implement appropriate relief. Businesses can complete the survey online or visit www.FloridaDisaster.biz and select “Hurricane Nicole” from the dropdown menu. If you need additional assistance with your business, please call 850-815-4925 between the hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. or email [email protected]Florida.com.

The Florida Small Business Development Center at Indian River State College wants to ensure all state and/or federal emergency lending tools and programs are available to area businesses. If local businesses have any questions regarding the survey or would like to speak with the local Florida Small Business Development Center, please contact Katie Muldoon at 772-336-6285 or email [email protected].

About DEO

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity combines the state’s economic, workforce, and community development efforts, expediting economic development projects to fuel job creation in competitive communities and promote economic resiliency. For more information, including valuable resources for employers and job seekers, please visit www.FloridaJobs.org.

 

Treasure Coast Business is a news service and magazine published in print, via e-newsletter and online at tcbusiness.com by Indian River Media Group. For more information or to report news email [email protected]

Nov. 17, 2022|

October is National Disability Employment Awareness month

October is National Disability Employment Awareness month

 

Jimmy Dean, Dawn Hutchinson, Shannon Wilson, Sharon Cullen, Beth Schumer and Ryan Boyle of Helping People Succeed’s Successful Futures program
Debi Athos, Jen Ripperger and Janet Kissam of Helping People Succeed’s Successful Futures program

 

October is National Disability Employment Awareness month. And lest you think the only people this affects favorably are those who have found jobs that match their individual skill sets, the fact is their employers and the general population of the United States benefit, too.

Helping People Succeed, the nonprofit that’s been making a difference on the Treasure Coast for more than half a century, has two programs that match employers and employees: Successful Futures and Project Search.

As Suzy Hutcheson, CEO of Helping People Succeed says, “Many people have asked us, what can a person with a disability do in the workforce of today - our answer is just about anything.”

Shannon Wilson is Director of Successful Futures at the nonprofit. She receives referrals from Florida’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation which in turn are matched up with clients of Helping People Succeed who have the physical, cognitive and sensory skills to do the job.

Because there is great care taken to make successful matches, it can take 3-4 months for a client to find a job. Employers will get referrals that include:

  • Matching their needs with the abilities and skills of applicants
  • Providing on-site training for the new employee
  • Providing follow-up and on-going support services both to the newly hired employee and the employer to ensure job placement satisfaction

The follow-up support services are performed by a Helping People Succeed Employment Consultant (or Retention Specialist) who works with each employee, giving whatever support is necessary for the client to understand, perform and enjoy their job.

This can continue throughout the client’s entire working career if it is requested. Businesses that have trouble hiring competent workers are often pleasantly surprised when they offer someone with a disability the chance to work for them.

Helping People Succeed’s other initiative, Project Search, is offered in conjunction with the Martin County School District. It’s a one-year transition program for students aged 18-21 who have graduated from high school. It takes place in a business setting in which the interns are totally immersed, allowing them to become employable with competitive work skills. Individualized job development and placement is on-going and based on strengths, skills and interests.

Hutcheson likes to say that Helping People Succeed creates taxpayers. And although October is National Disability Employment Awareness month, the nonprofit works every day of the year to help people with disabilities become accepted, included and valued employees.

For more information about employment training and other programs offered by Helping People Succeed, visit www.hpsfl.org.

 

 

Treasure Coast Business is a news service and magazine published in print, via e-newsletter and online at tcbusiness.com by Indian River Media Group. For more information or to report news email [email protected]
Oct. 17, 2022|

Florida SBDC IRSC teaches how to become a bankable business

Florida SBDC IRSC teaches how to become a bankable business

 

 

The Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Indian River State College (IRSC) in collaboration with the Florida Bankers Association will conduct and host the How to Become a Bankable Business seminar.  The event will take place on the IRSC Massey Campus Kight Center For Emerging Technologies in Fort Pierce on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022 from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Capital is critical for entrepreneurs as they launch and grow their businesses. A regionally healthy small business community is essential for sustainable economic development and neighborhood revitalization. Entrepreneurs need access to capital, networks and guidance as they grow. Access to capital supports the region’s recruitment of new business ventures, while also providing existing operators the environment to expand operations, which creates new employment opportunities. Frequently, worthwhile projects with great economic potential never move beyond the planning stage due to the inability to access needed capital.

In this seminar business owners will learn from the top banks in the community, get questions answered from real local lenders, and network with other business owners, bankers, and more.

There is no cost to attend, all interested can register via: https://form.jotform.com/222795410943156

Sponsors and speakers for this event include Marine Bank & Trust, PNC Bank, and SouthState Bank. Refreshments and networking opportunities will be available.

Hosted by Indian River State College, the Florida SBDC at IRSC provides aspiring and existing small businesses in Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, and Okeechobee counties with no-cost consulting, low-cost training, and access to business data and research resources.

To learn more about this event or the FSBDC at IRSC please call (772) 336-6285, or email [email protected]

 

About the Florida SBDC Network:

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

In 2019, Florida SBDCs provided 114,064 hours of professional business consulting to 12,535 client businesses, resulting in 37,966 jobs impacted; $4.4 billion in sales generated; $496.5 million in government contracts acquired; and $255.3 million in capital accessed; and 453 new businesses started.  With over 40 offices statewide, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

 

 

 

 

Treasure Coast Business is a news service and magazine published in print, via e-newsletter and online at tcbusiness.com by Indian River Media Group. For more information or to report news email [email protected]
Oct. 10, 2022|

Bank of America study says offering financial wellness tools increases employee retention

Bank of America study finds 84% of employers say offering financial wellness tools increases employee retention

97% of employers feel responsible for employee financial wellness, with 91% seeing higher employee satisfaction when offering resources to manage overall wellbeing

BOA Logo

Bank of America announced findings from its 12th annual Workplace Benefits Report, Navigating a New Era of Financial Wellness.” The report revealed that 84% of employers now say that offering financial wellness tools can help reduce employee attrition, and 81% say wellness tools help attract higher quality employees. This is critical to employers, as 46% have seen an increase in resignations over the past year. In addition, approximately one in three employees have switched jobs or thought about switching jobs in the past year.

The report also explored the impact of the current economic and inflationary environment on employees’ financial wellness, revealing that 62% of employees are stressed about their finances. In addition, 80% of employees are concerned about inflation, and 71% feel the cost of living is outpacing growth in their salary or wages. This is having an impact on employees overall feeling of financial wellness. After the percentage of employees who feel financially well bounced above pre-pandemic levels in February 2022 (57% .vs 55% in 2019), the percentage dropped to a 5-year low of 44% in July 2022.

“Offering comprehensive benefits and wellness programs can be critical for employers looking to reduce attrition, can empower employees to take control of their personal finances, and improve employee satisfaction,” said Lorna Sabbia, Head of Retirement and Personal Wealth Solutions at Bank of America. “We are committed to partnering with employers to provide financial wellness solutions through a holistic and integrated approach that’s actionable for every employee.”

Based on a nationwide survey of 824 employees and 846 employers conducted in February, and a second survey of 478 employees conducted in July, the Workplace Benefits Report examines trends related to workplace financial benefits and wellness programs.

Employers are embracing financial wellness programs and expanding support

In response to increased stress about financial wellness, employers continue to embrace programs to expand support for their employees. For example, 91% of employers see higher employee satisfaction when they offer resources to manage overall wellbeing. Other top employer findings include:

  • Employers feel an increased sense of responsibility for the financial wellness of employees. 97% of employers feel responsible for employee financial wellness (up from 95% in 2021, and from 41% in 2013) – with two-thirds (62%) going as far to say they feel extremely responsible (up from 56% in 2021). Employees agree with this sentiment, as 82% say employers should play a role in supporting their financial wellness.
  • Wellness programs result in tangible benefits for employers and employees. 80% of employers agree that offering financial wellness support can result in more satisfied, loyal, engaged and productive employees. Employers who take it a step further and broaden their wellness programs to include mental and physical wellness resources are seeing noticeable improvements in productivity (50%), employee stress (43%), employee morale (41%) and employee creativity and innovation (36%).
  • Equity grants are powerful recruitment and retention incentives. 76% of employers believe equity compensation is a differentiator for employee recruitment and retention, and 44% of employees who participate in equity compensation plans say it was an important reason for accepting the job.
  • Health care remains an opportunity. 84% of employers feel very responsible for their employees’ understanding of retirement healthcare needs and costs, and 89% of employers who offer Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) contribute to their employees’ savings. Healthcare education is an opportunity, with only 54% of employers communicating about these topics at least once a year.
  • Access to investment advice. With four-in-ten employees saying they want access to advice from an investment professional, 62% of employers are now offering employees access to investment advice services (up from 55% in 2021).
  • Heightened focus on D&I programs. 74% of employers believe that diversity and inclusion programs are important for retaining talent, and half (50%) of employers currently offer diversity and inclusion programs.

Employees seeking programs to help alleviate financial strain and plan for the future

Employees express uncertainty about current economic conditions and are taking actions to relieve financial strain:

  • Employees are dipping into savings due to financial strain. Half of employees have taken action in the last six months due to financial strain, including tapping into emergency savings (21%), working additional hours (21%), looking for higher paying jobs (20%) and taking out a 401(k) hardship withdrawal (6%).
  • Retirement remains a top concern, driving action. As of July 2022, 56% of employees are confident they will reach their retirement goals, down from 69% in February 2022. Seventy-four percent say investing in their 401(k) and other accounts will help them build a retirement nest egg, and 61% are contributing enough to maximize their employer match.
  • Education about Social Security is an opportunity. Only 38% of employees say they understand social security benefits. Even among Baby Boomers, 41% still do not understand social security. While 48% of employees indicate they are not getting enough education about the program, only 40% of employers offer employees social security support and education.
  • Employees are more optimistic about their intermediate, longer term future. When looking at the next 2-3 years, most employees said they felt optimistic about their financial (56%), social (60%), and mental (62%) well-being.
  • Digital tools play a key role in driving employee engagement. Employees are seeking out digital tools that offer personalized support, and employees find tools that can provide streamlined information and help track and set financial goals most useful. Fifty-two percent of employees prefer to use a digital app to manage their finances.

Financial wellness levels vary based on employees’ ethnicity, gender and generation

Employees continue to show differences in financial wellness when viewed by gender, ethnicity or generation. Though the financial wellness gap has closed for women, it has expanded for minorities since February. Top findings include:

  • Women lag men but are closing the gap when planning for long-term goals.Women continue to trail men in their feelings about financial wellness and preparedness. For example, 54% of men and 69% of women do not understand social security benefits. Despite this, the financial wellness gender gap is closing. As of July 2022, women were less likely to feel financially well than men by five percentage points (42% of women .vs 47% of men), down from 10 percentage points in 2021 (47% of women .vs 57% of men) and 17 percentage points in 2020 (41% of women .vs 58% of men).
  • Minorities have seen a greater negative impact to their feelings of financial wellness. Employees across various ethnicities reported significant drops in their perceptions of financial wellness, with minorities reporting more significant declines. For example, 49% of White/Caucasian employees feel financially well (compared with 56% in February), followed by 37% of Asian employees (67% in February), 33% of Hispanic/Latino employees (47% in February) and 32% of Black/African American employees (50% in February).
  • Feelings of financial wellness have declined across generations this year. Since February, feelings of financial wellness have declined significantly across generations, with Gen Z/Millennials at -15%, Gen Xers at -14% and Baby Boomers/Silent Generation at -10%.

Bank of America’s Retirement & Personal Wealth Solutions organization serves more than 26,000 companies of all sizes and more than 5.9 million employees as of December 31, 20211. Bank of America offers institutional client employees a range of financial benefit programs and solutions to help them pursue their financial future.

More findings, including action steps for employers, are available in the Bank of America 2022 Workplace Benefits Report.

Workplace Benefits Report Methodology

Escalent surveyed a national sample of 834 employees who are working full-time and participate in 401(k) plans, and 846 employers who offer both a 401(k) plan and have sole or shared responsibility for decisions made in the plan. The survey was conducted between February 3, 2022 and February 28, 2022. To qualify for the survey, employees had to be current participants of a 401(k) plan and employers had to offer a 401(k) plan option. Neither was required to work with Bank of America. Bank of America was not identified as the sponsor of the study. Bank of America Retirement & Personal Wealth Solutions help employers and employees to take action and work toward their financial goals today and into retirement.

July 2022 Pulse Study Methodology

Escalent surveyed a national sample of 478 employees who are working full-time and participate in 401(k) plans. The survey was conducted between July 5, 2022 and July 19, 2022. To qualify for the survey, employees had to be current participants of a 401(k) plan. They weren’t required to work with Bank of America. Bank of America was not identified as the sponsor of the study. Bank of America Retirement and Personal Wealth Solutions help employers and employees to take action and work toward their financial goals today and into retirement.

Financial Wellness at Bank of America

At Bank of America, we know that supporting the physical, financial and emotional wellbeing of our employees in their personal life also supports them in their work life — so they can be the best at work and at home. When it comes to financial wellness, we believe that the more informed people are about their money, the clearer their financial outlook can be. This applies not just to our clients, but to our employees, as well. This is why we offer robust financial offerings to our employees that focus on driving better behaviors across life priorities and the financial spectrum — budgeting, planning, saving, investing and more. Our competitive financial benefits – including 401(k) plans that include a company match, retirement advice2, health savings accounts3, banking4 and investing5 programs, educational resources and financial wellness tools – help employees address money issues in the here-and-now, prepare for retirement and help protect their family over the long term.

Bank of America

Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 67 million consumer and small business clients with approximately 4,000 retail financial centers, approximately 16,000 ATMs and award-winning digital banking with approximately 55 million verified digital users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management, corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business households through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations across the United States, its territories and approximately 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (ATMs) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

 

Treasure Coast Business is a news service and magazine published in print, via e-newsletter and online at tcbusiness.com by Indian River Media Group. For more information or to report news email [email protected]
Sep. 30, 2022|

Know Your Numbers: 5 Keys to Small Business Success

Know Your Numbers: 5 Keys to Small Business Success

 

 

The phrase “Know Your Numbers” typically refers to measuring your personal health by knowing your blood pressure, weight, cholesterol levels, etc. You and your doctor can use these numbers to make sure you’re healthy and identify early indicators of potential issues.

The same concept applies to your small business. Some small business owners consider their business to be a success if their bank account is growing – or at least not shrinking. But that’s the equivalent of saying you’re healthy because you feel good today. Just like for your health, there are key metrics that will help you better understand your business and uncover opportunities and potential issues.

#1: Start Simply

You do not need to become a data scientist to make sense of small business metrics. But it is easy to get overwhelmed. So start simply and build from there.

Find a performance dashboard you like, such as the one provided by your point-of-sale system. In this Best Practices for Small Business Success series, we’ll use examples from the Manage My Business app because it is specifically designed to help small business optimize their results. But use whatever you’re comfortable with.

You already know your sales numbers, so start by looking at this metric from different perspectives. For example, a "heatmap" graph is an excellent way to visualize your sales by the time of the day as well as the day of the week. In the following example, it’s easy to see the busiest day is Saturday and the slowest hour is 4-5pm on weekdays – perhaps indicating the need to close an hour earlier on weekdays.

Similarly, sales trend graphs often provide great insights, especially when viewed from different perspectives. This next example shows sales on Wednesdays are declining slightly over time, which could indicate a normal seasonal trend or a potential issue to investigate further.

The key is to start by looking at a few key metrics (like Sales and Order Size) to avoid getting overwhelmed and frustrated, and then expand from there as you become more comfortable with your data.

#2: Only Use Apples-to-Apples Comparisons

Comparing today’s results to those a month ago can be useful as long as “month” is defined as “four weeks ago”. This is because the day of the week influences sales for almost every business. So comparing April 30 (a Saturday) to March 30 (a Wednesday) is typically not useful, but comparing April 30 to April 2 (both Saturdays) can be very useful in measuring growth.

The same concept applies to holidays, where Mother’s Day is May 8 in 2022 but May 14 in 2023. Holidays that are on the same date every year (Christmas, Juneteenth, etc.) are exceptions, where it may be useful to compare the same date year-over-year.

A similar issue comes up for intraday comparisons. It doesn’t make sense to compare results as of noon today to the entire day of sales yesterday.  However, a comparison of sales as of noon today to sales as of noon yesterday can be very insightful.

Oddly enough, most dashboards do not make it easy to make apples-to-apples comparisons. The Manage My Business app is perhaps the only app available to small businesses that is built to ensure apples-to-apples comparisons – including understanding holidays, as shown in this example:

#3: Keep Everything in Context

It’s easy to misinterpret or misuse data, especially when it’s taken out of context. You know your business well, so make sure all metrics are interpreted within the context of your business.

Let's consider the first example above where 4-5pm on weekdays is the slowest hour. Perhaps this is good because it allows your employees to start pre-closing work and leave a little earlier – reducing payroll costs while still offering convenient store hours for your customers. Or perhaps it would be better to close earlier. Putting the data in context will ensure you make good data-driven decisions.

Keep external influences in mind as well. For example, COVID-19 caused Order Size to increase for many small businesses as consumers bought larger quantities to reduce the number of trips outside the home. The Order Size then declined as life slowly returned to normal. A decline in this key metric is usually a negative indicator, but this external factor explains why it might not be a cause for concern in this situation.

Similarly, a major retailer of cribs saw a sudden drop in their crib sales some years ago and didn’t know what to do. Based on data from a market research firm, they discovered crib sales were down for all retailers, not just them. This market context prevented them from making a bad business decision (heavy discounting or discontinuing crib sales). Crib sales returned to normal within the next six months.

#4: Keep Asking “Why?”

Analytics are only useful if you can identify why something happened and apply that insight to improve future performance. Understanding why crib sales dropped (an unusual, short-term drop in demand) allowed that retailer to make informed decisions about its future. Not understanding why could have led to disastrous results.

As you’re looking at your performance data, keep asking yourself why something happened – regardless of whether it was a positive or negative change. Negative results tend to draw our attention, but there’s a lot to be learned about why performance improved as well.

For example, price changes can obviously affect sales. In the graphs below, it’s not clear why cappuccino sales (as a percentage of total sales) were flat or trending slightly up after the price increase while latte sales were trending down. Perhaps one was still favorably priced compared to competitors while the other became overpriced. Digging deeper into the “why” will help determine if additional price adjustments are needed.

It's a never-ending process, but that’s part of the fun of owning a small business. It’s a series of challenges that push you to find new and innovative ways to create great products and customer experiences. Continually asking “Why?” will often identify new ways to make your small business special.

#5: Trust Your (Informed) Gut

Most small business owners don’t have a business degree, but they do have an intense passion for what they’re selling – whether it’s coffee or antiques or fashion or whatever motivated them to start their business. As a result, you are a subject matter expert for your business and will have good instincts for how to run it.

Analytics complement your expertise by providing insights that may not be obvious from just observing the day-to-day business. Going overboard with analytics is just as bad as ignoring analytics. It’s the balance between expertise, instinct and data-driven decisions that will be the key to your business’s success.

Steven Roth is the creator of the Manage My Business app and best practices guides. He is passionate about helping "mom-and-pop" stores make better data-driven decisions by making analytics accessible and actionable.
Steven has been a retail consultant for 20+ years, including several years at Google. He is an expert in retail analytics and has helped build tools and services used by millions of retailers worldwide. He currently owns two small businesses, giving him firsthand knowledge of the challenges small businesses face daily.

Next Steps

Get to know your numbers by finding a dashboard that supports your business needs. Big retailers have teams of data scientists that do this analysis, but a data-focused mindset along with your existing expertise and instincts can give your small business a big edge.

 

Florida's Small Business Development Center

 

Treasure Coast Business is a news service and magazine published in print, via e-newsletter and online at tcbusiness.com by Indian River Media Group. For more information or to report news email [email protected]

 

Jul. 7, 2022|