Data and Research

Millennials Desire More Secure Retirement Benefits

The majority would sacrifice some pay for workplace access to guaranteed retirement benefits, a survey finds.

By John Manganaro | September 28, 2016
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The majority of Millennials, about six in 10, say they would sacrifice some pay for workplace access to guaranteed retirement benefits, according to the Willis Towers Watson Global Benefits Attitudes Survey.

The survey shows younger workers’ appetite has declined over the last several years for forfeiting pay in favor of lower and more predictable health benefit costs. This is a complicated effect, the research shows, but it may have a lot to do with the emergence of Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges, as well as more innovative thinking among employers and service providers leading to smarter health care consumption.  

The Global Benefits Attitudes Survey shows the number of Millennials willing to pay a higher amount for a guaranteed retirement benefit has increased from 42% in 2009 to 59% this year. While they don’t face an easy path to a secure retirement, the fact that a majority are apparently prioritizing retirement is encouraging, Willis Towers Watson says. Millennials absolutely must engage early in the retirement savings effort if they hope to build anything like a dependable lifetime income stream for their retirement years.

Other results show two-thirds of Boomers (66%) would similarly be willing to sacrifice some pay for more secure retirement benefits, versus half in 2009. However, only one-third of Millennials (32%) and Boomers (34%) are willing to pay a higher amount for lower or more predictable health costs, a decline from 43% and 45%, respectively, in 2009.

“Employees of all generations, including Millennials, are feeling vulnerable about their long-term security,” notes Steve Nyce, senior economist at Willis Towers Watson. “Employees young and old actually have a strong desire for more retirement security and are willing to give up pay to get more guarantees or a larger retirement benefit. Interestingly, employees seem to be saying they have enough health coverage now and are reluctant to pay more.”

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