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Importance of retirement security increased

Staff Writer |
Saving for retirement is one of the top financial priorities for most working Americans.

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However, competing financial needs are impacting how men and women emphasize saving for retirement, according to the 2017 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey conducted by leading global advisory, broking and solutions company, Willis Towers Watson.

The survey of nearly 5,000 U.S. employees also revealed that while importance of retirement security has increased sharply over the past few years, workers’ retirement confidence has turned downward, which could prompt employers to boost their offering of financial well-being programs.

According to the survey, 60% of working men ranked saving for retirement as a top financial priority. In contrast, 44% of women surveyed ranked saving for retirement as a top priority.

In fact, saving for retirement was the fifth-highest priority for most women, who ranked meeting daily living costs (64%) and paying off debt (57%) as top financial priorities.

To note, married women without any children under age of 18 selected saving for retirement most often as a top financial priority.

The survey noted that most employees do not prioritize their own finances toward saving for retirement until their 40s or 50s, when other financial needs have been met.

At the same time, workers’ retirement confidence has declined following several years of steady improvement.

More than half of respondents (57%) feel confident they have enough financial resources to live comfortably 15 years into retirement, but that is down from 69% in 2015. Retirement confidence had been rising steadily since 2009 when 61% were confident.

In addition, less than two in five women (39%) are now confident they’ll have enough resources to last 25 years into retirement compared with 54% of men.

More than one in three (37%) workers surveyed expect to work past age 70, an increase from 30% two years ago.

Only one in four workers (26%) says he or she will be able to retiree before age 65, down from 29% in 2015. Struggling employees — identified in the survey as those worried about their short- and long-term finances — are feeling the greatest pressure to retire later.

Two-thirds of struggling employees who are age 50 or older today don’t expect to be able to retire before age 70. About 30% of the employees surveyed were identified as “struggling.”

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