Can your workplace help you with your finances?
When work plays such a big part in all our lives it's surprising that we don't arrange our financial needs through our employer.
%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%That's starting to change of course with the introduction of auto-enrolment which will see employees who aren't already saving into a workplace pension automatically put into one (although they will be able to opt out).
The government is keen for us all to take more responsibility for our retirement but it would be great if auto-enrolment and the launch of the government's pensions scheme, the National Employment Savings Trust (Nest), marked the beginning of a plan to help people to become financially independent in all aspects of their lives.
Employers are ideally placed to help people make the most of their money, and not just be offering pensions.
Yes, everyone should be saving for old age but there are plenty of other milestones that people need to save for throughout their lives, a deposit for a house and having a child spring immediately to mind.
When there is so little consumer trust in banks and other financial institutions employers, in which trust is generally high, could take on the role as trusted source for financial information.
Employers could offer individual savings accounts (ISAs) or even loans and mortgages, siphoning of money to save or pay off a loan before your money hits your bank account.
In terms of saving it would be particularly helpful, if the money is spirited away into an account before you have chance to spend it then you won't miss it (this is exactly the idea behind auto-enrolment).
There are some employers who are progressive enough to offer these services but they are few and far between. It would be great to see employers offering more financial services to employees.
In an era where we don't have the paternalistic defined benefit schemes, the new benchmark could be what kind of financial advice and products employers give employees access to.
Work plays a large part in our lives and we trust our employers to pay us so most people would trust their employer to help them make sensible financial decisions.
Auto-enrolment is a great start but it would be great to see this idea expanded beyond pensions.