Skip to main content

Workplace Trends: Employers Slack Off On Retirement Planning

By now, you've heard about a new federal report that reveals Americans' wealth dropped a whopping 40% between 2007 and 2010. Now a Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey tells us employers are more talk than action when it comes to employee retirement planning. Let's party like it's 1992!

BOFA says that roughly 70% of employers feel "some sense of responsibility" in helping employees plan for retirement, but only about 40% are actually helping them do it. Gee, the company would like to help employees get a leg up on retirement planning -- it sounds good, and it's really important and all! -- but we just don't know what kind of help we want to give employees. So we're sort of kind of doing...not much. I'll let BOFA's press release explain:

Nearly 70 percent of employers feel some sense of responsibility for helping employees secure the assets needed to sustain them later in life. However, workers nearing or in late stages of their career often find themselves on their own when it comes to transitioning into retirement. For example, just 39 percent of employers offer their retiring employees guidance on what to do with their 401(k) assets, while only 20 percent help educate employees on such issues as preparing for future health care costs or understanding when to take Social Security as they approach traditional retirement age.

This may be in part the reason why less than half (42 percent) of employees surveyed feel they are on track to financially support their desired lifestyle in retirement, and another 22 percent have no idea whether they’re on track to do so or not. This lack of confidence may be one reason why 73 percent of all employees surveyed see themselves working into their 70s.

The line to become an 80-something Walmart greeter will be forming to the right, and please don't crowd.

In fact, 55% of employers in the BOFA survey communicate with employees once a year or less about retirement planning. In this case, "or less" means pretty much never. Why? Companies say they don't have the time, and the subject matter is way too complicated. (Plus, it still feels like a recession, companies are sitting on their cash, and employee retirement planning is an expense. BOFA didn't say that, but I will.)

In small employers' defense, however, retirement planning can be intimidating and complicated to the point where one almost needs to be a Warren Buffet to understand it all. It's a sure bet that the vast majority of employees attending retirement planning presentations don't know the difference between a stock portfolio and a P/E ratio either, because they aren't stock market analysts by training. For the financial whiz leading the presentation, it can be like dealing with the kid right before the high school chemistry final who raises his or her hand to ask: "What's an electron, and how do I calculate the mole? Could you please go over that again?" Geez, really!? Where have you been all semester?

Lingo-challenged employees who have had a 401(k) for a long time don't want to look stupid, and so they simply nod their heads in agreement with the lingo-spouting third-party retirement expert or HR employee only to walk away as confused about managing a 401(k) as they were before. Welcome to the modern state of employee retirement planning. There has to be a better way. Maybe "P/E" should stand for "petrified employee" instead. Now that's a term employees would understand.

Comments

  1. The information is precisely one of the desirable source every reader should takes place of. Keep on partaking such useful information. Good Luck

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Seven tips for dealing with a jealous coworker

Look at you, doing so well at work! We're so happy for you. Well, most of us are happy for you and refuse to spend the entire work day talking behind your back. Let's talk about how to handle our jealous co-workers!Like every other professional, you've no doubt experienced your share of failures and successes. Lately, however, things seem to be going your way at work. And how! Perhaps you've managed to ace an important project this quarter, been instrumental in landing a huge client, earned some well-deserved rewards for this and that, or -- egads! -- been given a slight promotion or additional work responsibilities (e.g., the work responsibilities you actually want).You're quietly chuffed, but somehow your co-workers seem none too pleased with this rapid turn of events. Oh no, what should you do now?It's a workplace tale older than the disjointed last season of Mad Men. The playing field in the department was even, cozy and overall very friendly -- until so-an…

Employees Blame Technology For Slowing Them Down At Work

Do you feel like you're always working, but never getting very much done? If so, you're not alone. Too much technology, and too much red tape, keep slowing us down at work. But technology, and more of it, is supposed to make our lives easier! Too much technology, however, does not compute for employees. A new SAP/Knowledge@Wharton survey of almost 700 corporate employees finds a full 60% of respondents blame technology "for inhibiting their ability to meet strategic goals." Gee, anyone who has ever used the self-checkout line at the grocery store can tell you that. However, 40% surveyed said that looking for ways to simplify the technology has been "a low priority" for their company. Too much paperwork is an on-going problem for the workplace, too. A new ServiceNow survey of nearly 1,000 managers finds that 90% are doing too much administrative work, no matter the size of the company. This paperwork includes filling out forms, writing status updates, …

Is Your Co-worker Always Late For Work?

You've started the workday, but where is your co-worker? Oh, she's running late again, just like yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that. Let's get an early start on solving her tardiness problem, shall we? Working with someone who is consistently late is one of the most annoying aspects of office life, and also one of the most common, unfortunately. It's a universal theme of the workplace that everyone will get to work on time (give or take a few minutes...) except for the employee who is egregiously late nearly every day. And the excuses can get pretty amazing. Employees became more punctual as the Great Recession lingered, at least according to surveys. Everyone, that is, except for your able-bodied but habitually-tardy co-worker. It's bad enough dealing with tardiness when you're a manager, but it can be even more frustrating when you're a rank-and-file peer without any magical "shape up or ship out" managerial powers. So you…