SPONSORED BY ALERUS FINANCIAL
Why is your financial wellness important? Eighty-five percent of Americans feel anxious about their finances. One in three Americans isn’t saving enough money for retirement. More than 50 percent of Americans can’t come up with $500 to cover an emergency expense. Alerus is out to not only change the way Americans think of their financial health, but also help them improve it.
“We look at those numbers and we like to believe that they aren’t here in our own community but we know that they are,” said Dan Doeden, President of the Fargo Market at Alerus. “One of the fundamental beliefs at Alerus is to do the right thing. As an organization, we truly believe that serving our clients and helping them make better decisions around their finances is one of the most important things we can do to give back to our community.”
This month, Alerus will introduce My Alerus – a completely new digital experience for their clients. Upon logging into an Alerus account, clients will be greeted by a dashboard that serves as a launchpad to access all of their personal Alerus accounts and see their financial health in one single view. Doeden explained the four ways the new technology is serving their clients.
1. “It shows our clients their current relationship with Alerus but also allows them to bring in outside relationships, ultimately resulting in a holistic picture of their financial situation.”
2. “It calculates an overall wellness score by looking at the five building blocks of financial wellness: emergency savings, debt management, retirement planning, insurance planning and health savings. This helps our clients understand how they’re doing but, more importantly, where they have the most opportunity to improve.”
3. “It allows our clients to set personal goals and to see in real-time how they’re tracking toward those goals.”
4. “The final component focuses on budgets by using artificial intelligence to automate a smart budget. The budget tool helps clients easily understand where their money goes based on past transactions, and then forecasts when they are under or over budget in spending categories. This predictive intelligence helps clients better manage their finances and know when they can reallocate their money to other spots.”
The new digital tools combine gamification with finances. Gamification is the act of incorporating interactive game mechanics into everyday practices. Think of how smart watches are turning your daily step count into a competition with your friends and family. Just like people who are trying to get healthy will start dieting, exercising and getting enough sleep at night, it’s important to also set goals for your financial health too. By completing a series of short financial workouts, you can gamify your finances to calculate a financial wellness score.
With the release of the My Alerus technology, clients will also gain access to Alerus Financial. Fit – a mobile app that allows clients to stay on track of their budget, quickly access real-time account balances and enjoy the convenience of completing financial workouts when on the go.
“At Alerus, we are proud and truly believe that bringing our technology together with our people is a key ingredient for success. We’re really excited to bring the intelligence of My Alerus to our clients and give them the confidence that they are still supported by our financial guides and advisors. When it comes to planning out your financial life, we believe you can gain a lot from working one-on-one with someone. Our team is here to fill this role,” said Ann McConn, Chief Business Officer at Alerus.
The new digital wellness technology also translates to their business customers in a surprising manner. It’s no surprise that if an employee is financially stressed, they are distracted and unproductive at work. Many businesses create wellness programs focused only on physical and mental health; with Alerus, businesses can now help make sure your employees are also taking care of their financial health. When a business chooses to partner with Alerus as their service plan provider of their retirement plan or employee health savings plan – in turn their plan participants will gain access to the financial guidance technology offered through My Alerus.
“At Alerus, we have a strong focus on serving our business clients,” said McConn. “For many of our business clients, their largest expense is their employees. My Alerus and our financial wellness tools are focused on helping our business clients’ employees become more confident in their financial future, helping them understand better decision making, understand where they are and how they can make a better decision tomorrow.”
And, at the end of the day, Alerus’ number one goal is to help guide the decisions for tomorrow.
“When it comes to finances, there’s so many areas where you might start. But if you’re only going to do a few things, where should you focus and have the greatest impact? We view the financial wellness score as the high impact, few steps that will help you make the next best decision. It doesn’t really matter where you are today or what you’ve done in the past. It’s instead, ‘how do I make the next best decision and what should that be?’” said McConn.
With My Alerus, clients can view all their financial information from Alerus and link in other providers to create a holistic, overall picture of their financial health. The program can then help create smart budgets, give a financial wellness score and guide you into making the best possible financial decisions.