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Retirement is Prime Source of Financial Stress for American Employees

Ryan Gardner | May 14, 2019 Employer Insights

Study: Retirement is Prime Source of Financial Stress for American Employees

The number one source of stress for employees in America? Personal finances.

MetLife’s 2019 Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study, a national survey of over 2,600 full-time employees, paints a detailed picture of the financial pain points being experienced by Americans, both in and out of the workplace. The dataset is so rich that we’ll be spreading our biggest takeaways across two blog posts. First up: retirement.

Retirement affordability fears hang over most Americans’ heads

Rather than looking forward to post-career golden years, most Americans feel fearful about their retirement prospects and whether they will be able to make ends meet without full-time employment. Of respondents’ top five financial concerns, three were retirement-related:

  • 72% named being able to afford healthcare in retirement as a top concern;
  • 68% are worried about outliving their retirement savings;
  • 66% said their ability to rely on Social Security and Medicare in retirement was another major stressor. 

In 2015, 37% of employees surveyed were expecting to postpone retirement because of their financial situation. Four years later, that number has jumped to 52%. That’s despite slow-but-steady economic growth, indicating there are other consistent financial pressures that – for now over half of American employees – are pushing retirement further down the line. And given that student loan debt has increased over that same time frame – from an average of just over $30,000 in 2015 to between $37,000 and $40,000 now – it’s impossible to deny that student loans are one of those pressures influencing most Americans’ idea of a financially feasible retirement.

A role for HR to play

The MetLife survey also found that 54% of employees believe their employers have a responsibility to help them save for retirement (up from 52% the year before). Similarly, a majority said that student loan assistance would be either a must-have or nice-to-have workplace benefit.

Employer-provided student loan assistance fulfills both needs. Student loan repayment benefits help employees to pay down the burdensome volume of student debt they’ve accrued. At the same time, they also free up those employees to put less of their money into their student loan debt and more into their own retirement plans.

These all go hand-in-hand: employers making student loan repayment easier for those employees helps those employees to better save for retirement and, in turn, reduce their financial stress about the future.

Are you struggling to recruit or retain top-notch talent? Vault’s student loan repayment platform provides just the competitive advantage you need to boost your hiring and retention strategies, offering employees an attractive perk that doubles as an avenue toward debt defiance and financial freedom from retirement stress. Contact us for more info on how we can help.