As part of their benefits package at Crane Builders, owner David Crane pays for a personal finance seminar for his employees. It helps them understand and plan their own finances, and it makes them more sensitive to the Nashville, Tenn.–based company's finances. “I find if they pay closer attention to their own budget, they pay closer attention to budget on the jobsite,” he says.
The 13-week Financial Peace University seminar is designed for families. Crane pays the $200 tuition that covers the attendance of the employee and a spouse. A group of employees usually take the weekly class together. Crane gives each employee a $100 bonus when they complete the class and then takes the group out to lunch to celebrate their graduation.
“We have too many guys who make money but don't save. Educating them on how to save and plan and not live in debt pays dividends for them and us,” Crane says. He chose this seminar because he was familiar with the organization and likes their common sense approach. In the seven years he has offered the benefit, about 80% of his employees have completed the class. Still, not all of them take what they learned to heart. “One year later, 50% have their lives changed; the other 50% are back to where they started,” Crane says.