Many American workers who report feeling stressed about retirement admit they are not taking the steps necessary to prepare for their financial future, the results of an annual survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and Greenwald & Associates indicated.
The 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) was conducted January 6-13 with 1,671 U.S. residents (1,082 workers and 589 retirees) aged 25 and older. The results showed that 31% of workers feel mentally or emotionally stressed about preparing for retirement, and that 30% worry about their personal finances while at work. Of these respondents, half said they think they would be more productive at work if they did not spend time worrying.
When asked whether they believe that having access to programs at work that help them plan for their financial future would be helpful in increasing their productivity, around half of all of the workers surveyed said they believe they would benefit from participating in retirement planning (52%), financial planning (49%), or health care planning (47%) programs.
The results also showed, however, that many workers are not yet taking critical retirement planning steps. While 61% of the workers surveyed said they have saved for retirement, just 41% indicated that they have tried to figure out how much money they will need in retirement, 38% said they have estimated how much income they would need each month in retirement, another 38% reported that they have estimated the amount of their Social Security benefit, and 34% indicated that they have estimated their expenses in retirement. In addition, just 23% of the workers surveyed said they have spoken with a professional advisor about retirement planning, and only 11% reported that they have prepared a formal plan for retirement.
In line with earlier waves of the survey, the 2017 wave indicated that far more retirees than workers feel confident that they will be able to afford a comfortable retirement. Almost 80% of the retirees surveyed said they feel confident about having enough money to live comfortably throughout their retirement years, including 32% who said they feel very confident.
The results also showed that workers who believe their debt is a major problem have notably lower levels of retirement confidence: 32% of these workers said they are confident about retirement, compared with 78% of workers who indicated that debt is not a problem for them. Moreover, the workers who said they have a retirement plan appear to have markedly higher confidence than those who did not: 33% of those who lack a retirement plan said they are confident about retirement, compared with 71% of those who have a plan.
Of the workers who reported that they are not currently saving for retirement, 73% said they would be at least somewhat likely to save for retirement if their contributions were matched by their employer, and approximately two-thirds said they would be likely to save for retirement if automatic paycheck deductions of either 3% or 6% of salary were used by their employer.
The findings further indicated that workers are far less confident than retirees about being able to afford health care in retirement: 54% of workers said they are confident about being able to afford medical expenses in retirement, compared to 77% of retirees.
From Benefit Trends Newsletter, Volume 60, Issue 4
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