Workers Turn To Employers For Help, Solace

October 29, 2002 ( - Employees are turning to their employers more than ever for help with their financial decisions, according to a new survey.

According to the Dreams and Fears of American Workers Survey by Manulife:

  • 81% of employees desire easy-to-use retirement planning and investment selection tools
  • 80% of employees want employer-sponsored programs that would enable people to save and invest more

When retirement plans are offered, 8 out of 10 surveyed participate.   This figure increases as age as income increase.  Roughly 70% of those that participate in savings plans report earmarking funds for future events, including:

  • 76% for a comfortable retirement
  • 75% for early retirement
  • 72% for college funding

Comfort Quotient

However, employers are looked at for comfort as well:

  • 32% of employees feel employers help avoid situations with negative impact
  • 28% of employees feel employers are the biggest difference in assisting to achieve financial goals

“What is interesting is that employees continue to look to their employer for assistance in overcoming their fears and to help achieve their dreams.   Despite the management scandals at some larger high-profile corporations, we have found that the relationship between most employers and their employees remains intact” according to Kendall Kay, Chief Strategy Officer for Manulife USA’s Group Pension division.

Fear Factors

Fears weighing heaviest on employees’ minds are:

  • 72% fear suffering financially due to an unexpected expense
  • 69% fear losing money due to the stock market
  • 64% fear being inadequately prepared for retirement
  • 63% fear big market mistakes on investment decisions
  • 59% fear using long-term savings on short-term goals

The survey polled 400 workers over the age of 21 via telephone in June and July of 2002.