Retirement not the Most Pressing Financial Concern for Employees

April 21, 2011 ( - Meeting day-to-day expenses is now more of a concern for U.S. employees than funding retirement, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers U.S.'s 2011 Financial Wellness Survey.

Respondents said primary financial concerns include not having sufficient emergency savings for unexpected expenses (25%), not being able to meet monthly expenses (20%), and not being able to retire when they want to (18%). These issues were followed by concerns around not being able to keep up with debt (13%) and being laid off from work (11%).  

According to a press release, just 33% of employees surveyed said they’re confident they will be able to retire when they want to, and 46% plan to retire later than they previously planned. In addition, 38% of respondents state they are saving less overall this year than last, and almost one third (32%) believe they’ll need to use their retirement plans to pay for expenses other than retirement (education funding, home purchase, etc.).  

Of the employees surveyed who are not saving for retirement, top reasons include “too many other expenses” (45%), “have debt to pay off” (28%) and “lower income than previous year” (15%). Employees who are saving less money for retirement than last year are doing so because they have too many other expenses (37%), their income is lower (28%) and they have debt to pay off (27%).  

Respondents planning to delay retirement cited several reasons for postponing, including not having enough saved (34%), retirement investments that have declined in value (18%), too much debt (14%), need to keep health care coverage (14%), supporting children/grandchildren (9%), don’t want to retire (9%), and other (2%).   

Of those employees ages 55 to 64 who are planning to retire in the next five years (37%), less than half know how much income they’ll need in retirement (45%) or have examined whether they’re on track to meet their retirement goal (45%). Similarly, 54% of employees overall have not examined whether they’re on track to meet their retirement goal, and 48% are not comfortable selecting investments.   

“It’s not enough to say, ‘you should be saving for retirement’ and auto-enroll your employees in a retirement program. Competing financial issues could be preventing employees from saving for retirement, and it’s important to understand why people aren’t saving in order to address the retirement savings crisis and related workforce issues,” said Kent Allison, Partner in PwC’s Financial Education Practice, in the press release.