American workers are very concerned about their financial security, especially after retirement. And they count on Congress as well as their employers to provide solutions.
The sixth American Workers Survey, conducted in February on behalf of Prudential by Morning Consult, illustrates the depth of their fears.
Seven in ten respondents indicate that they have felt stressed about their finances in the past year. An even greater number – more than 80 percent of working parents – are concerned about the financial security of their children as they get older. And pension security remains a primary concern, with nearly seven in ten respondents saying they are concerned that they will not have enough money to live comfortably after retirement.
While the workplace is increasingly one of the major places people can access offers to increase their financial security, many small business employees do not have access to these offers. Only 39 percent of employees in small businesses say their company provides the benefits they need to feel financially secure, compared to 63 percent of employees at large companies.
Against this grim backdrop, workers in the vast majority want Congress to implement policies that make it easier to save for retirement. Nearly eight in ten employees say Congress should do more to expand access to retirement plans. Provisions contained in the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (RESA), which was recently reintroduced, would make it easier for small businesses to jointly offer retirement plans through open multiple employer plans (MEPs). This would increase access to plans and help close the retirement savings gap. Additionally, 68 percent believe policymakers should support retirement solutions that convert savings into a stream of lifelong income benefits.
"The challenge of saving for retirement, and the anxiety and stress this places on employees, is a recurring theme in our studies of barriers to employee financial security," says Ann Kappler, Deputy General Counsel and Chief of External Affairs for Prudential. "This research particularly highlights the growing urgency for Congress to address retirement security."
The survey results also found that employees say they ask their employers to provide them with tools that support their financial well-being, particularly saving for retirement. A majority of employees (53 percent) say they would not work for a company that did not have a retirement plan. And of employer-provided programs, employees consider retirement plans (74 percent) and life insurance (56 percent) to be the most valuable in support of their financial well-being.
"There is a compelling need – and support – among workers for measures to improve access to retirement plans, especially for employees of small businesses," notes Kappler. "Prudential has long supported policies that would increase Americans' access to retirement savings, such as those that would increase sponsorship and participation in multiple employer plans (EPs). As a leading provider of financial wellness solutions, we will remain committed to providing much needed retirement security laws to bring financial security to more American workers' fingertips. "