Starbucks To Help Its Employees With New Financial Wellness Programs

Student loans have gotten a lot of attention in 2022, with the looming restart of federal student loan payments on January 1, 2023, per Bankrate. Though a student loan forgiveness program may eliminate a portion of student debt, what about future education debt burdens? Corporate involvement in this issue is not something you see every day, which makes the new Starbucks financial wellness program stand out. Starbucks announced in a press release on September 12 that the program focuses on two areas that potentially benefit the financial well-being of many Starbucks employees — savings and student loans. These new benefits will go into effect on September 19.

The financial wellness plan results from Starbucks' greater goal of "reinventing its future." In July, CEO Howard Schultz announced that the company would be focusing on employee-partner communication efforts, including open forums surveys, collaboration sessions, and ongoing discussions with partner leaders. According to the press release, the new wellness plans "were informed by thousands of conversations with partners over the last several months." Here's a look at how employees can benefit from them.

Two-fold approach

The first focus of the two-pronged financial wellness program is establishing a way to manage higher-education debt. Starbucks has partnered with to help employees navigate the complexities of student loans — including existing ones and future education financing decisions — per the Starbucks announcement. Services available to employees will include personalized consultations, refinancing options, and tools for maximizing loan repayments through a single dedicated platform, according to QSR.

The second initiative aimed at helping partners navigate future finances comes via the My Starbucks Savings plan administered by Fidelity Investments. It encourages eligible U.S. employees to create an accumulating nest egg by having after-tax pay transferred directly from paychecks to the savings plan — which gets infusions by Starbucks at certain savings milestones, up to a total of $250 per employee.

These new financial wellness programs, highlighted on TikTok, come in addition to the current perks of working at Starbucks. Eligible "green apron partners" serving in U.S. locations currently receive healthcare coverage, 401K plans, tuition coverage, "bean stock" shares, increased partner pay, and vacation and sick leave. Comments on TikTok reflect current conflicts over unionization efforts by Starbucks employees and whether the new corporate financial programs suffice.