How to help employees save more for retirement. Employees experience debilitating financial stress when it comes to retirement and they want employers to provide tools and support that ensure they’ll have enough money saved to last through retirement.
A third of workers and a fifth of retirees are ‘overwhelmed’ or ‘paralyzed’ by their financial situations, according to the latest Retirement Study Reveal by Wells Fargo. Nearly 40 percent are unsure how much they’ve saved for retirement, or say living to age 85 would be a ‘financial hardship.’
Close to 70 percent of employees are concerned about running out of money in retirement and don’t know what they’d do if it happened. Almost 60 percent of retirees took retirement earlier than expected or started taking Social Security as soon as they could.
Most of the focus for retirement education and support has gone to Millennials and Baby Boomers, but GenXers are nearing the critical pre-retirement phase and experiencing high levels of financial stress.
Less than half of GenXers are saving enough for retirement. Only 45 percent of them have a detailed financial plan, less than all other generations. They’re sandwiched between the financial responsibilities of Millennial children and Boomer parents. More than 60 percent of GenXers want more help from employers with their retirement choices.
Across all three generations, nearly 90 percent of employees want a 401(k) statement with retirement income estimates. Roughly 60 percent say making savings last through retirement is the most important part of retirement planning. If employees receive a quarterly estimate of what they’ll have in retirement they can compare it with the national average income they’ll need and will likely be more motivated to adjust retirement contributions accordingly.
Employees with a ‘planning mindset’ are more than 40 percent less likely to have financial stress. A planning mindset is a tendency towards setting short-term and long-term financial goals. Those who have one are twice as likely to say they’re ‘thriving’ and have three times more household retirement savings than those without a planning mindset. Employer-sponsored tools that simplify and automate the planning process make it easier for employees to develop and maintain a planning mindset.
Employers can also help employees plan for retirement by giving them access to professionals who can answer questions, clarify the process and give them direction to improve their preparation. The Society for Human Resource Management found companies providing access to investment retirement advice increased almost 15 percentage points over the last five years, and over 50 percent of organizations offered online advice in 2018, a 50 percent increase from 2017.