When asked to list their biggest sources of financial stress, top responses from U.S. workers recently surveyed by MetLife included being able to afford the cost of healthcare in retirement, outliving their savings, and having to rely primarily on Social Security and Medicare in old age. A 52 percent majority of respondents also said they expect to postpone retirement due to their financial situation, a marked increase from 37 percent in 2015 when this survey series was started. Although it is encouraging to see that many people recognize the importance, and challenge, of ensuring old-age financial security, near-term money problems appear to be another obstacle in the way of adequately preparing for a comfortable retirement. Indeed, two-thirds of respondents said that being able to cover their monthly bills in the event of a sudden job loss is a major financial concern for them at the moment, and the same proportion said that they regularly worry about affording out-of-pocket medical expenses.
An earlier MetLife poll similarly found that half of employee respondents admitted to being “concerned, anxious, or fearful” about their current financial well-being, and only 38 percent could say that they feel in control of their finances. Thirty percent even reported that they lay awake at night worrying about money, and 23 percent said that they are less productive at work because of their financial concerns. Two-thirds of surveyed employers agreed that their employees are less productive when money problems are brought into the workplace, and 47 percent said that they believe they have some responsibility for the financial well-being of their employees. Forty-two percent of worker respondents shared that belief, and more than half said that the benefits offered by their employer can help them gain peace of mind, relieve financial anxiety, improve productivity, and increase their ability to focus at work. In fact, 72 percent of surveyed employees described a 401(k) or other retirement plan as a “must-have” benefit. Fifty-three percent of worker respondents also stated that they would be more loyal to their current employer if financial planning programs were offered as an additional benefit. Employers should take note of that finding since 51 percent of surveyed workers said that they would be more likely to accept a job with a new employer that did provide access to financial planning programs.
Post author: Charles Couch