Financial wellness may be the cure for the retirement crisis, but it’s a resource that’s barely being tapped by advisors.

Month after month, research and surveys paint a dire picture of Americans’ retirement readiness, colored by their low savings, high debt and inappropriate asset allocations.

A growing group of retirement plan advisors and sponsors are using financial wellness plans to address this issue, says Patrick Delaney, vice president of retirement marketing at T. Rowe Price.

“Financial wellness is not a passing fad,” says Delaney. “Advisors should take note and address it with clients. Sponsors say they want it. Participants say they need it. It’s an opportunity.”

Delaney defines financial wellness as the ability to both manage day-to-day finances while also addressing short or long-term savings goals. Establishing wellness is no longer viewed as a necessary precursor to financial advice.

As investing and allocating savings becomes largely a passive, automated process, advisors will have to address financial wellness to prove their value to clients and to source new business, says Delaney.

For plan advisors, financial wellness may be an existential issue, says Delaney, since most advisors are judged by sponsors on how much of a retiree’s income from his or her working years can be replaced in retirement.

“Those employees are telling us over and over again that they can’t save,” Delaney says. “That’s going to be an issue for advisors.”

What’s more, T. Rowe Price reports that most plan sponsors, 89 percent, want to establish some type of a financial wellness plan for their employees, but only 20 percent have a program in place.

Delaney believes that to capture the opportunity, advisors must take the initiative to pitch wellness programs to these sponsors. In doing so, they must tailor their pitch to a company’s point of contact for the retirement plan—usually one of several people: a small business owner; a chief financial officer; a treasurer; or someone working within a larger company’s human resources, payroll or benefits division.

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