Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Helping Employees Retire

Employers Can Take Action to Help Employees Retire When They Want

December 7, 2017

Many workers are worried that they won’t be financially ready to retire at their target retirement age. According to a 2016 BrightWork Partners survey, almost four in 10 working adults plan to delay retirement beyond their original planned age due to deficient savings. A large majority name retirement as their top savings priority, yet most are struggling to financially prepare and are very worried about their financial future.

This poses a big problem – not just for workers themselves – but employers as well. With so many workers financially stressed and failing to prepare well for the future, employers will certainly feel the impact through lost productivity, increased turnover, an aging workforce, and increased healthcare costs. Employers who offer workplace retirement benefits, however, can overcome these challenges and help workers build the savings they need to reach their retirement goals.

More plan to retire later

Overall, workers expect to retire at age 65, but over half (52 percent) say low retirement savings impact their plans, the survey found. Thirty-eight percent have also considered a delay to compensate. Workers ages 18 to 34 are most likely to reset their retirement age. A retirement delay can help build additional savings and reduce the amount of time in retirement. Employer-sponsored retirement plans can help employees prepare, and the plans do not have to be expensive or time-consuming to administer.

Retirement and debt reduction are top financial priorities

In the survey, workers rank retirement as their top priority; 66 percent say it is their most important savings objective. With age, saving gains momentum. It takes top priority for 69 percent of workers ages 34 to 49, 81 percent of workers 50 to 64, and 83 percent of those 65 plus, according to the survey.

  • Paying down debt (39 percent) and saving for the unexpected (36 percent) are also top saving objectives.
  • Younger workers (ages 18 to 34) struggle to manage debt, and place it (45 percent) closely behind retirement (50 percent) as a top financial priority.

Saving for retirement is also a big financial worry for 21 percent of workers, according to the survey. Monthly expenses (17 percent) and credit card debt (14 percent) also are big concerns.

Confidence in retirement planning is low

Retirement planning can be complicated, and many workers are not very confident about:

  • How much they are contributing;
  • The investments they chose; and
  • Their account asset allocation.

Confidence in Retirement Planning Decisions

I am not very confident about…



The amount I am contributing



The investments I chose



My asset allocation



Source: Voice of the Defined Contribution Participant Study. BrightWork Partners, 2016.

Since 2010, there has been a trend of higher confidence in retirement planning decisions, potentially due to greater adoption by plan sponsors of automatic plan features and investment solutions that can take the complexity out of planning for the future – an indication of the effectiveness of these solutions.

Employers, Take Action!

Many workers are struggling financially, and it’s impacting their ability to save for the future. Workplace retirement plans can help. These types of financial benefits help workers build savings, reduce financial stress, and prepare to retire when they are ready. Today’s plans can be designed to make retirement planning less complex and simplify your plan management. Helping workers succeed at planning and saving for a secure retirement is good for them and your business. Now is the time to take action. Many employers find that financial benefits can also attract talent, improve productivity, and boost loyalty.


BrightWork Partners, a partner firm of Retirement Insights, LLC, conducted the Voice of the Defined Contribution Participant Study in July 2016 of 1,082 working adults participating in a 401(k), 403(b), or 457 plan to determine their perspective of retirement readiness. For more information about the survey, contact us at

About the Author

John Guido, Principal at Retirement Insights, LLC

Retirement Insights, LLC is a data research firm dedicated to assisting financial services companies to competitively position their products in the marketplace and achieve their goals. We offer powerful competitive intelligence tools, reporting and consulting services specialized in the retirement and financial industries. Our expertise lies in connecting our innovative research and information with insights that help our clients make better decisions and bring practical, actionable solutions into view.

This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. Paychex is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, Paychex. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant.