Key takeaways include leveraging the SMART goal-setting method, the 50-30-20 rule of expense tracking, the benefits of 529 college savings plans, how to leverage equity compensation, and understanding your retirement savings personality

Morgan Stanley at Work today released insights and learnings from its exclusive second annual Financial Wellness Retreat, held on March 16 –17, for plan participants of its corporate clients.

This year’s retreat hosted over 11,000 plan participants, delivering 30 sessions across four tracks: Personal Finance, Equity Compensation, Retirement Planning and Executive Education.

Key insights included:

  • Be SMART: To reduce feeling overwhelmed about finances, Financial Wellness professionals offered the SMART goal-setting method (Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Realistic and Time-Bound) that defines financial goals, is action-oriented and creates a timeline to measure progress.
  • Stick to the 50-30-20 rule: This rule of thumb can help with tracking expenses, whereby 50% of the budget should cover essential bills like household expenses, 30% to non-essentials such as vacations and 20% allocated to savings and investments. Lastly, establishing an emergency savings fund that covers three to six months of essential living expenses is critical to planning for uncertainty.
  • Use College Savings 529 Plans to Plan for Education Expenses: A college savings 529 plan is an effective investment vehicle that delivers flexibility in funding, along with tax advantages. Contributions into these accounts grow tax free, and distributions that are used to pay for eligible college expenses are also tax free.
  • Put equity compensation to work: Equity compensation can play a key role in achieving your financial goals if you plan accordingly. First, identify your financial values, goals, timeline and risk tolerance to ensure the equity you earn aligns. Another factor to consider is the concentration of your company’s stock. Morgan Stanley’s Equity Award Analysis tool is available through its Financial Advisors, who can help equity plan participants analyze and manage their awards.
  • Know Thy Retirement Self: Workplace Financial Advisors highlighted four types of retirement personality profiles: Spenders, Savers, Givers and Worriers. Knowing which persona you are most like will make it easier to identify and avoid pitfalls, along with adopting proactive solutions to build and preserve your nest egg through your retirement years.

“As we continue to emerge from the pandemic, employees across the globe are facing new headwinds in the form of pronounced inflation and geopolitical uncertainty. Companies in turn are seeking holistic financial wellness programs that help employees keep their financial houses in order,” said Brian McDonald, Head of Morgan Stanley at Work. “At Morgan Stanley at Work we are able to help deliver on that mission through events like these, offering a world-class bench of experts across myriad financial disciplines to deliver timely education and actionable insights that help participants along their financial journey.”

The second annual 2022 Morgan Stanley at Work Financial Wellness Retreat was held virtually and comes on the heels of its inaugural financial wellness retreat in 2021. Content will be available to participants on demand until April 16, 2022.

To learn more about Morgan Stanley at Work, please visit: https://www.morganstanley.com/atwork/

About Morgan Stanley at Work

Morgan Stanley at Work offers a suite of financial solutions, which spans Equity Compensation through Shareworks and E*TRADE Equity Edge Online, Retirement and Financial Wellness Solutions. Morgan Stanley at Work combines cutting-edge planning and Morgan Stanley intellectual capital and financial education delivered through multiple channels to enable employees to build a holistic plan to achieve their financial goals. Shareworks is provided by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, member SIPC, and its affiliates, and Equity Edge Online® employee stock plan solutions are offered by E*TRADE Financial Corporate Services, Inc., both are parts of Morgan Stanley at Work and all wholly owned subsidiaries of Morgan Stanley.

About Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

Morgan Stanley Wealth Management is a leading financial services firm that provides access to a wide range of products and services to individuals, businesses, and institutions, including brokerage and investment advisory services, financial and wealth planning, cash management and lending products and services, annuities and insurance, retirement, and trust services.

About Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services. With offices in more than 41 countries, the Firm's employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions, and individuals. For more information about Morgan Stanley, please visit www.morganstanley.com.

Investors should consider many factors before deciding which 529 plan is appropriate. Some of these factors include: the Plan’s investment options and the historical investment performance of these options, the Plan’s flexibility and features, the reputation and expertise of the Plan’s investment manager, Plan contribution limits and the federal and state tax benefits associated with an investment in the Plan. Some states, for example, offer favorable tax treatment and other benefits to their residents only if they invest in the state’s own Qualified Tuition Program. Investors should determine their home state’s tax treatment of 529 plans when considering whether to choose an in-state or out-of-state plan. Investors should consult with their tax or legal advisor before investing in any 529 Plan or contact their state tax division for more information. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC does not provide tax and/or legal advice. Investors should review a Program Disclosure Statement, which contains more information on investment options, risk factors, fees and expenses and possible tax consequences.

© 2022 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC.

Media Relations Contacts: Katrina Clay, Katrina.clay@morganstanley.com | Lindsey Madnick, Lindsey.madnick@morganstanley.com

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