The vast majority of employers think workers are struggling to manage their personal finances. And while bosses are doing more to help alleviate their financial struggles, companies are still falling short.
Nearly 8 in 10 employers offering a workplace retirement plan such as a 401(k) think their employees are hurting financially, according to a recent survey by insurance company MassMutual. “It’s a bit of an epidemic,” said Una Morabito, the head of client management at MassMutual. “Employees are struggling with financial wellness.”
The findings come at a time when workers are assuming more individual responsibility over several areas of their financial life, such as saving for retirement and health-care costs, that employers might have helped with more in the past.
Many companies have shuttered their pension plans over the past few decades in favor of 401(k) plans, while also shifting to high-deductible health plans paired with health savings accounts, which allow employees to save for medical bills. Fidelity Investments estimates a 65-year-old couple retiring this year will need $285,000 to cover out-of-pocket medical costs in retirement.
Americans have had to grapple with these changes amid a steady increase in average life expectancy. That means they have to stretch retirement savings over a longer period of time and increases the likelihood they’ll need to pay for costly services associated with old age, such as nursing-home care.
Employers believe their workers are primarily struggling with credit card and other consumer debt, housing costs and the inability to save for emergencies, according to the MassMutual survey. Medical costs, childcare expenses and difficulty in saving for retirement rank closely behind.