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Can Employers Help Employees Save (or Save More)?

12/11/2022 Written by: Jenny Boudreau

The retirement landscape continues to evolve, from increases in longevity to Social Security reform to the pandemic. Today’s employers play a vital role in helping employees save and invest for retirement. With different needs and expectations, employers must first strive to understand the varying views of each generation.

 

Baby Boomers (Born 1946 to 1964)

Upending the idea that work and retirement are mutually exclusive, 49% of baby boomer workers expect to work past age 70, or do not plan to retire. Despite this, unforeseen events can derail their intentions. This generation is susceptible to employment risks, market volatility, and increasing inflation. To be successful, this group needs support from employers.

 

Generation X (Born 1965 to 1980)

Earlier adopters of 401(k) plans, Generation X workers are saving for retirement, but many may fall short. Despite 81% participating in an employer-sponsored 401(k) or similar plan, only 22% of this generation’s workers are “very” confident they will be able to retire comfortably. Because most are still working, this generation has an opportunity to prepare a written financial strategy and continue building their savings.

 

Millennials (Born 1981 to 1996)

Entering the workforce during the great recession, millennials’ early working experiences were during a turbulent economy. Many delayed marriages and major purchases but made a solid and early start in saving for retirement by enrolling in workplace 401(k) plans. Due to the pandemic, 84% of millennial workers have shifted their life priorities, with 60% citing paying off debt as a financial priority. Millennials are expected to become caregivers for aging parents or loved ones, which could impact their ability to save for retirement.

 

Generation Z (Born 1997 to 2012)

Generation Z has had a tumultuous career start because they entered the workforce before the pandemic. Despite layoffs and salary reductions, 67% of Generation Z workers have been saving through their employer-sponsored 401(k) or similar retirement plans. With decades to grow their retirement savings, this generation will need to be diligent in managing their savings, especially if they change employers frequently or spend time self-employed.

 

Employer Support

Given the pandemic’s disruption on employment, finances, health, and the increased strain on social programs, workers across all generations are at risk of not having enough money saved for a financially secure retirement. Employers have an opportunity to support this multi-generational workforce with their business practices and employee benefit programs. Some ideas include:

  • Clear and frequent communication with employees to help alleviate anxiety about workplace policies and changes.
  • Flexible work arrangements that support work-life balance.
  • Health and welfare benefits, including financial wellness and employee assistance programs that promote physical, mental, and financial well-being.
  • A retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k). If a plan is not currently offered, take advantage of the tax credit available for starting a retirement plan or joining a multiple employer plan (MEP) or pooled employer plan (PEP).
  • Offer benefits to part-time workers, including health insurance and retirement plan benefits.
  • Promote the benefits offered throughout the year to increase awareness.
  • Adopt diversity, equity, and inclusion business practices, including an age-friendly workplace.
  • Encourage lifelong learning.
  • Offer assistance to employees nearing retirement, including education about retirement income strategies, retirement distribution options, and the need to plan for the unforeseen. Also, provide information about Social Security and Medicare.
  • Create opportunities for workers to phase into retirement, such as allowing employees to transition from full-time to part-time, work in different capacities or locations, or have a more flexible schedule.

 

Achieving a financially secure retirement depends upon workers’ access to meaningful employment and the availability of retirement and health and welfare benefits. Employer-sponsored retirement benefits, such as 401(k) or similar plans, are effective at encouraging savings through convenient payroll deductions, access to institutional investments and advice, educational offerings, and matching contributions.

There are many ways employers can support a multi-generational workforce. Contact AssuredPartners for effective strategies on how to attract and retain talent while helping employees save for the future.

 

Source: “Emerging From the COVID-19 Pandemic: Four Generations Prepare for Retirement,” Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, October 22

 

 

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