Many employers have made an effort to ensure that workers take full advantage of their available retirement benefits. For example, a recent Willis Towers Watson report found that nearly three in four surveyed employers (73 percent) currently enroll workers into the company’s 401(k) plan automatically, up sharply from 52 percent in 2009. Another 60 percent of respondents have incorporated an auto-escalation feature to make sure that workers get the most out of these tax-advantaged savings vehicles and corresponding matching contributions. Moreover, 60 percent of the surveyed employers that have boosted plan contributions during the past five years did so by increasing the employer match.
Other common steps that businesses have taken to enhance their workplace-provided benefits include offering Roth features within their 401(k) plans, streamlining the available investment options, using target-date funds (TDFs) as the predominant default option, increasing fee transparency, and adding health savings accounts (HSAs). Seventy-eight percent of employers also said that they will make an effort to educate employees on retirement planning issues. That is encouraging since the top-cited financial education benefits that workers recently surveyed by MassMutual said they wish their employer would offer included retirement plan investment advising and old-age financial planning.
Three-quarters of worker respondents also said that they would be open to considering budgeting and money management help from their employers, including 10 percent that would like “as much help as possible” with personal financial management. Further, 58 percent of worker respondents said that they are at least somewhat interested employer-provided Social Security counseling, and 39 percent are similarly interested in debt counseling. Even without these additional features, 88 percent of surveyed employees said that they feel at least “a little more” financially secure because of the benefits they receive at work, including 11 percent that feel “much more secure.”
Sources: Willis Towers Watson, MassMutualPost author: Charles Couch