HRE’s number of the day: employee retirement worries

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44: Percentage of employees who say saving enough money for retirement is a top source of stress

A survey of 1,000 workers from Charles Schwab found that saving enough for a comfortable retirement continues to be workers’ leading source of significant financial stress.

What it means to HR leaders

Not surprisingly, COVID-19 is driving employees’ anxiety about long-term retirement savings and prompting more to believe they’ll have to retire later than planned because of the tumultuous environment and volatile economic climate. But employers, and HR leaders in particular, can help employees ease anxiety, says Catherine Golloday, executive vice president and head of workplace financial services at Charles Schwab.

“401(k) plan participants are anxious about their long-term retirement savings, and they are also highly engaged right now,” she says. “This is a good time for employers to remind participants about the financial planning tools and resources that are available through work and encourage them to check to see whether they are on track.”

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She adds that 401(k) participants are much more confident when they speak with a financial professional and develop a plan for the future, despite the challenges of the current environment.

Related: How employers should address employees’ 401(k) concerns

Other experts have said that HR and benefits leaders should be sure to communicate with employees about their 401(k) plans during this uncertain time. Edward Gottfried, group product manager for Betterment for Business, told HRE earlier this year that “it’s always important to continue to contribute to your 401(k).”

“We think it’s good guidance for employers to tell [workers] that any savings they can do today will have an outsize benefit, and it’s important [employees] exercise their option to contribute to this employer plan,” he said.

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Kathryn Mayer
Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s former benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver.