2018 Financial Wellness Update

Saturday, November 16, 2019

From a macroeconomic perspective, the financial wellness environment slightly improved from last year. Results and opinions around financial stress and retirement confidence have not changed much from last year, according to PWC’s Employee Financial Wellness Survey—2018 results. There weren’t many significant changes worth noting.

What the PWC Survey Shows

The following shows how important finances are to employees, and the stress and disruption caused by money issues. Finances are almost twice at likely to cause stress than the job itself.

Less than 50% of respondents are confident they’ll be able to retire when they want, and nearly 66% either say their retirement plans and Social Security won’t be sufficient to support them in retirement or they aren’t sure.

Among the well-known and much talked about reasons for delayed retirement are:

  • Increased life expectancy
  • Decreased funding of Social Security
  • Lack of personal savings
  • Lack of savings/income through employer plans, as most have moved from defined benefit to defined contribution plans.

But two additional causes of delayed retirement have emerged:

  1. The need to keep healthcare coverage. Post-retirement health coverage was a relatively popular benefit historically, but those plans are going by the wayside. Most employers do not offer Pre-Medicare post-retirement healthcare coverage. This is known as a bridge plan as it offers a bridge from active healthcare benefits to Medicare coverage. Many employees need to work until Medicare age because of the lack of a bridge plan.
  2. The need to care for children or parents, as 42% of employees who have children over 21 provide financial support to their adult children.

Among those employees willing to sacrifice their own financial well-being to support adult children, nearly twice as many (34%) say they’ve already withdrawn money from their retirement plans, compared to those who did not indicate a willingness to sacrifice their own financial well-being (18%).

Caring for Aging Family Members

With individuals living longer, the baby boomer workforce at times is what I call “double dipping,” where they are financially responsible for children but also either caring for or in some way financial responsible for parents as well.

23% of employees are providing financial support for parents or in-laws.

And that statistic is total employees, not just baby boomers. 61% of employees who provide financial support to parents or in-laws also have dependent children, and half of them are paying dependent care expenses. In addition, 74% also provide non-financial care for their parents or in-laws.

With individuals living longer, the baby boomer workforce at times is what I call “double dipping,” where they are financially responsible for children but also for parents as well. – Brandon Conroy, ASA, FCA, MAAA

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Student Loans

Student loans are also a major concern. The bottom line is…you are not alone. Even if you are a baby boomer, there are a number of others who have student loans.

Number of Employees with Student LoansMillennials37%Generation X22%Baby Boomers10%

Among the baby boomers with student loans, 51% say the loans are for their OWN education expenses.

Financial stress does not discriminate. The reasons for the stress might differ by age, but the stress and therefore resulting presenteeism exists in a large way. It is important to have your finger to the pulse of employees and understand why they are financially stressed and what can be done to help them.

It is important to have a finger to the pulse of employees and understand why they are financially stressed and what can be done to help them.

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