Workers Upbeat on Benefits

February 25, 2002 ( - Americans are optimistic that their employee benefit packages will survive the rest of 2002, a new survey finds.

The First Quarter 2002 Principal Financial Well-Being Index sponsored by the Principal Financial Group found that half of respondents don’t foresee a benefit reduction this year. A third of those participating, however, expect to see some benefit cuts.

The most important parts of a benefit package, according to the survey results, are:

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  • health insurance,
  • 401(k)s, and
  • life insurance

Getting Investment Advice

Even though bearish sentiment has prevailed in the markets lately, only 40% of respondents said they would seek investment help from a professional financial planner or advisor. A third doesn’t plan to get advice while 69% reported they would get a helping hand from family or friends.
While only a relatively small portion of investors plan to seek out professional advice, that doesn’t mean respondents are unconcerned about their financial future. For example, half of those questioned said they worried most about keeping their current job.

When asked to list their money worries:

  • almost a third of the sample ranked long-term finances first,
  • retirement savings were at the top of the list for 72%,
  • credit-card and short-term debt was mentioned in 56% of the responses, and
  • covering monthly expenses was a problem for 50% of respondents

The quarterly Principal survey  covers 1,500 workers in companies with between 10 and 1,000 employees.