Unum’s fifth annual survey of working Americans reveals that not only do more employees feel financially insecure, but more than 40% are planning to postpone retirement and half say they are not confident they will have enough savings for future expenses or to cover lost income if they are sidelined by illness or injury.
Of the 1,890 working adults surveyed, more than one-third (36%) do not feel financially secure, and the percentage who feels “not at all secure” (currently 16%) has increased since 2011. Women (40%) are significantly more likely than men (33%) to feel financially vulnerable.
The survey found more than three-quarters (77%) of employees who rate their benefits package as excellent or very good say they are financially secure.
When survey participants were asked what their current target retirement age was, the average was 67.1, an increase of 2.6 years over what they reported it being five years ago. Those ages 55 and older expect to retire after their 70th birthday, while those ages 18 to 34 are expecting to retire at age 65. Employees cite their personal financial situation (57%) as the leading reason for shifting their retirement age.
In case of an illness or injury that would interrupt the ability to work, only one-third of respondents could rely on employer-sponsored disability benefits. Employees say they are most likely to use personal savings (56%) or rely on family members (52%) if unable to work.
“This research underscores a disconnect between financial expectations and realities,” said Barbara Nash, vice president of research at Unum. “Research indicates that a very large percentage of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Yet our findings show that employees still believe they can rely on savings and each other if an illness or injury occurs.”
Employers can play an important role in helping their employees feel more financially secure by offering benefits such as disability insurance and by communicating the value of benefits as clearly as possible, Nash added.
Research for the survey was conducted online in December 2012 by Harris Interactive.
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