Baby boomers increasingly expect to put off retirement

By BenefitsPro

By Paula Aven Gladych

More baby boomers expect to postpone retirement due to their financial situation, according to MetLife’s 12th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study. Five years after the recession and employee financial concerns remain high.

Workers are concerned about the cost and availability of health insurance coverage, a fear of losing their jobs or that company benefits will be cut. Older workers who are getting ready to retire have increased worries they won’t be financially ready to retire. Many plan to keep working as long as possible.

Forty-one percent of young boomers and 39 percent of older boomers said they plan to postpone retirement due to their financial situation, compared to 39 percent of younger boomers and 33 percent of older boomers in 2012.

Sixty percent of those surveyed said they are willing to bear more of the cost of their workplace benefits to have a choice of benefits that meet their needs. That compared to just 51 percent who said the same in 2012.

Nearly half of survey respondents were also very concerned about having access to affordable health insurance and having enough money to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses that are not covered by health insurance.

More than half agree that they need more help in understanding how their benefits work and how they help meet their needs. This is especially true for younger workers. Forty-two percent said they are not confident they use their benefits effectively now.

Fifty-one percent of employers strongly agree that employees are less productive at work when they are worried about personal financial problems and 57 percent of employers agree that offering financial education to employees has a positive effect on productivity.

Offering financial education in the workplace is an effective way to drive productivity and demonstrate empathy. Despite the fact that 50 percent of employers identify financial education to help employees become financially secure as a very important benefits strategy, only 34 percent currently offer financial education workshops. Forty-nine percent of employees who don’t have access to financial education through the workplace said they would be interested in this opportunity.

Life insurance and disability income protection continue to be important for employee financial security. More than one-third, 37 percent, of those who have life or disability insurance either don’t believe their coverage is adequate or are not sure if it is adequate, MetLife found.

Forty-two percent of employers agree that most employees have adequate life insurance coverage and 33 percent agree that most employees understand how much life insurance coverage they need, but only 33 percent of employers currently provide access to online tools and calculators that can help employees assess the amount of life and disability insurance coverage they should have, the survey found.

The MetLife survey was conducted in October and November 2013 by GfK Custom Research North America. The employer survey comprised 1,510 interviews with benefits decision-makers at companies with at least two employees and the employee survey comprised 1,203 interviews with full-time employees over the age of 21.

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