Financial planning for employees looks as if it needs to remain a workplace effort, according to the 27th annual Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) by Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and Greenwald & Associates. The 2017 results released in March, indicate that three in 10 workers are stressed about retirement. And even though workers are mentally and emotionally worried — just four in 10 have tried to figure out how much money they will need in retirement. 

In general, the share of employees feeling somewhat or very confident about having enough money to live comfortably throughout their retirement years declined to 60 percent from 64 percent in 2016.

Confidence peaks to 75 percent for people with access to a retirement savings program at work. That seems to be the key for people’s comfort levels, having the ability to save through an organized retirement mechanism at their workplace.

There is an opportunity for employers to help make a positive impact on the stress level of their employees by providing financial well-being initiatives at work. There are a segment of employees, at least 30 percent according to the RCS, who say they worry about finances at work and half of them feel they would be more productive if they didn’t have to. And among all workers, about half say that retirement planning (52 percent), financial planning (49 percent), or healthcare planning (47 percent) programs would be helpful in increasing their productivity.

Workers’ broader concerns regarding retirement and personal finances revolve around factors such as debt, lack of a workplace retirement plan and low savings, according to Craig Copeland, EBRI senior research associate and co-author of the report.

Furthermore, workers who feel their debt is a major problem have notably lower retirement confidence (32 percent are very/somewhat confident vs. 78 percent among those who say debt is not a problem). Same goes for those without a retirement plan (33 percent are very/somewhat confident about their future retirement vs. 71 percent who have a retirement plan in place).

Overall, the percentage of workers that feel really confident about being able to afford a comfortable retirement appears low.  The report indicates that employees would be more likely to save for their retirement if their employer matched contributions or offered automatic paycheck deductions. Employers willing to invest in financial planning activities for their employees can help guide their workers’ efforts and make their workplace a little more stress-free in the process.

Source:  Employee Benefit Research Institute New Brief. 2017 RCS: Many Americans Are Stressed About Retirement, Aren’t Taking Steps to Prepare. March 21, 2017.

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