Workers' Worries May Threaten Benefits' Value
While a company's workers may differ in age, gender and in a range of other categories, new research suggests they share at least one common attribute -- a lack of confidence about retirement savings.
The youngest and oldest employees have the most confidence about retirement, according to a new OneAmerica survey, although those numbers still don't tip to the majority. Out of more than 6,000 respondents, 44 percent of plan participants between ages 20 and 30, and 45 percent of those older than 50, reported being "very confident" or "confident" that they will be able to maintain their current lifestyle in retirement, according to the research reported in Employee Benefit News.
Workers in the middle were even more worried about their retirement prospects, with only 37 percent of 30- to 40-year-olds and 35 percent of 40- to 50-year olds expressing that level of confidence.
An information gap may be partly to blame for the retirement jitters. More than half of Generations X and Y workers say they have little or no knowledge about investments and retirement options, according to a recent LIMRA study.
"There's a lot of attention on the baby boomers (78 million workers), but there are nearly 116 million Americans ages 20 to 47, and as an industry we need to help these Americans plan and save for retirement," Cecilia Shiner, senior analyst with LIMRA Retirement Research, told PLANSPONSOR.
Research also reveals a gender gap when it comes to retirement confidence. A separate PLANSPONSOR report on the OneAmerica survey noted that 44 percent of men said they were "very confident" or "confident" about their retirement status, while only 33 percent of women said the same.
Employers that offer retirement and financial benefits need to pay close attention to some of these "at-risk" groups within their workforce and provide resources to help them better plan for the future, experts suggest.
"These findings help underscore how important it is for plan sponsors to understand where the gaps are in perception, education and confidence in order to target different groups of employees with important messages that help them prepare for retirement," Marsha Whitehead, vice president of marketing communications for the retirement division of OneAmerica, told PLANSPONSOR.