Will U.S. Workforce Outlive Retirement Savings?

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Marsha Fisher
800.699.8011 x 71428


Raleigh, N.C. (May 7, 2019)

A recent national poll commissioned by Workplace Options indicates that the majority of employees in the U.S. are concerned about their savings for retirement. In the poll, 31 percent reported they are “very concerned” they will outlive their retirement savings, while an additional 27 percent said they were “somewhat concerned.”

In fact, 30 percent of respondents ages 46 to 65 identified saving for retirement as the most stressful aspect of their personal finances, followed closely by tax issues at 27 percent. One out of two employees polled blamed cost of living as their biggest obstacle to saving for retirement, while one in seven cited credit card debt and one in eight reported medical expenses.

“We know from our polls, and our experience, that when an employee is experiencing financial stress, it can have a negative impact on job performance,” explains Dean Debnam, Chief Executive Officer at Workplace Options. “As employers, we have an opportunity to provide our employees with support that can help them with their anxiety. We can also make financial literacy resources available that can help teach employees how to manage their money more effectively which can help them manage stress, and help them to save more money for retirement. When employees are less distracted by financial worries, they often find they are able to focus better at home and at work.”

In the poll, only 31 percent of employees reported that their employer offered educational resources related to retirement planning. However, of those whose employers did offer support, 87% reported they found the support to be, at least, “somewhat helpful.” Employer-sponsored financial education can address a variety of issues by providing employees assistance with budgeting skills, tactics for reducing debt, and practical ways to increase savings.

Other interesting results from the poll included:

  • 53 percent of employees polled say they plan to continue working after they retire
  • 8 percent reported they don’t plan to retire
  • 29 percent say they have made a withdrawal or cashed out their 401(k) savings

The poll also revealed a potential disconnect between what employees believe about retirement preparation versus what they are actually doing to prepare for retirement. Of the employees polled, 66 percent indicated that saving for retirement at the present stage of their career was “very important” and 16 percent considered it “somewhat important.”

However, in the same poll, 24 percent of workers reported that their retirement planning to date has been inadequate and 17 percent said they have not prepared for retirement at all. Of those polled between the ages of 18-45, 30 percent reported that they had not prepared at all for retirement.

The poll also revealed that 23 percent of individuals reported they had less than $1 thousand saved for retirement.

“It’s pretty obvious that working people are facing a challenge in trying to prepare themselves, financially, for retirement,” says, Debnam. “It seems employers can gain an edge in recruiting, and retention, and get more from their workforce if they provide resources to help their people achieve financial goals.”

The national poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling on April 16-17, 2019, and is based on responses from 503 working Americans. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percent. Full results are available here

For more information about Workplace Options, visit https://www.workplaceoptions.com/ or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.


About Workplace Options

Workplace Options helps employees balance their work, family and personal needs to become healthier, happier and more productive, both personally and professionally. The company’s world-class employee support, effectiveness and wellbeing services provide information, resources, referrals and consultation on a variety of issues ranging from dependent care and stress management to clinical services and wellness programs.

Drawing from an international network of credentialed providers and professionals, Workplace Options is the world’s largest integrated employee support and work-life services provider. Service centers in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Portugal, France, Belgium, UAE, Singapore, Japan, China, India and Indonesia support more than 58 million employees across 90,000 organizations and more than 200 countries and territories. To learn more, visit www.workplaceoptions.com.