Employees are more confident in how they handle their short-term finances but the majority is still not saving enough for retirement.
The2015 LifeCare/FPA Financial Confidence of American Workers Surveyfound that while workers understand the need to save for retirement, they are overwhelmed with day-to-day expenses, which is preventing them from thinking about saving for retirement.
“And while respondents are clearly stressed about their retirement and the planning required, there seems to be a misunderstanding of what retirement planning is and who can help,” the report found.
Out of more than 1,300 respondents to the survey, 67% said they aren’t saving for the future because they don’t have enough left after paying their monthly bills, including housing, transportation, food, education, credit and debt repayment. The folks who had the hardest time saving were those who made less than $100,000 a year.
Even though the majority of people said they couldn’t set any money aside for their future, they “still feel that they have a handle on their household finances,” the survey found. Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed said they felt they have a good handle on their household finances.
“That sense of control is probably more related to their feeling of control over more short-term, immediate expenditures, including housing costs — e.g., mortgage and rent payments — (62%), debt management (61%) and saving/spending (56%). But while they feel a sense of control over these areas, they also impact their day-to-day budget the most,” the report said.
If respondents were able to consult a certified financial planner, 56% said they would ask how much they need to save to be comfortable in retirement; 50% would talk about retirement preparedness; and 40% would ask how much to save in their 401(k) plan.
Only 7% of respondents said they were confident in their retirement planning and only 2% felt they knew what they were doing with estate planning.
Sixty percent of respondents between the ages of 45 and 64, the group that should be making plans for retirement currently, said they either don’t have a retirement plan in place, don’t understand what retirement planning is or where to find help in developing a plan.
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Fifty-five percent said they don’t have a plan in place or aren’t sure if they have one in place. Sixty-seven percent of those who are not currently saving for retirement said they aren’t able to save because of monthly expenses and 24% said they weren’t sure where to begin.
The majority of those surveyed said they believe working with a financial planner would be beneficial to them but “rampant misconceptions of financial planners are keeping them from engaging a planner,” the report found.
Forty-four percent believe that a financial planner is too expensive. Seventeen percent said they weren’t sure what a financial planner does and 15% didn’t think they had enough assets to merit hiring a financial planner, according to the report.
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The report concluded that employers could help their employees become better prepared for retirement by providing them with everyday financial help and access to 401(k) plans. “Employees’ retirement confidence is primarily driven by their access to a 401(k) plan, but those plans, while important, are not a complete retirement solution,” according to the report. “Access to professional help with retirement planning is key to the long-term financial stability of employees.”
Paula Aven Gladych is a freelance writer based in Denver.
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