U.S. employees’ financial well-being falters

The financial well-being of U.S. employees reversed direction this year following several years of steady improvement, according to Willis Towers Watson. The biennial survey also revealed a large increase in the number of employees who say their financial woes are negatively affecting their lives and who are worried about their future financial situation.

The 2017 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey found that just 35 percent of U.S. workers were satisfied with their financial situation this year, a sharp decline from 48 percent just two years ago. The number of employees who were satisfied with their financial situation had been improving steadily since 2009 when just a quarter were satisfied.

The survey also found more than a third of U.S. workers (34 percent) now believe their current financial concerns are negatively affecting their lives, compared with just 21 percent two years ago. Additionally, 59 percent of employees worry about their future financial state. Two years ago, just under a half (49 percent) were worried about their future finances.

The survey also found that less than half (47 percent) of U.S. workers are confident they will have sufficient resources 25 years into retirement while 57 percent are confident they will have enough resources 15 years in retirement. Both figures are down from 2015.

“The ongoing financial worries that are plaguing so many employees are taking a toll on their financial confidence,” said Vincent Antonelli, senior consultant at Willis Towers Watson. “We know from our research that more than half of all workers have experienced a major financial event in the past two years, such as divorce; a significant medical experience; or borrowing money from a friend, family member or payday loan. These factors, combined with rowing debt and low wage growth, are leading to heightened worker angst.”

Financial education.

A majority of employees (53 percent) would like their employers to offer tools that provide suggestions on how they can improve their financial situation. However, an even larger percentage (57 percent), say it’s not the role of an employer to send personalized messages to employees who are facing important financial decisions, and half say employers should not send personalized messages to employees who are not saving enough for a secure retirement.

“While employees are eager for their employers to provide support and technology that deliver valuable guidance and suggestions on retirement and financial decisions, employees are very wary of personalized outreach. What’s the nuance? Workers are saying there is a distinct line between personalized tools where the interaction is controlled by the employee and personalized messages that can be unsettling,” said Bartling.

SOURCE: www.willistowerswatson.com
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