Just over half (51 per cent) of U.S. employees — including 65 per cent of generation Z respondents — agreed employers have a responsibility to help workers improve and maintain financial wellness, according to a new survey by the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America-College Retirement Equities Fund.
The survey, which polled more than 3,000 U.S. employees aged 18 and over, found 55 per cent of workers received employer assistance on financial wellness as either a stand-alone resource or as part of a financial wellness program, with 36 per cent receiving more than one financial wellness resource.
The most common area workers said their employer offers assistance is saving for retirement (31 per cent), while 45 per cent of workers said they receive wellness resources other than saving for retirement, including managing health-care costs (16 per cent), building an emergency fund (14 per cent) and how to choose and monitor investments (14 per cent).
Employees who take part in an employer-sponsored financial wellness program have a higher financial wellness score than those who didn’t participate (32 per cent versus 15 per cent). These employees said they’re also more confident about their progress on key markers of good retirement planning, such as being able to retire when they want to (54 per cent versus 32 per cent), affording the retirement lifestyle they want (54 per cent versus 29 per cent) and living comfortably in retirement without running out of money (50 per cent versus 29 per cent).
Millennials (56 per cent) and gen-Zers (53 per cent) who took advantage of a program are also more likely than their peers to have said they’ve taken key actions to improve their finances and retirement picture.
However, the survey found usage of these programs is roughly 50 per cent — with the exception of saving for retirement (65 per cent) — and that roughly 75 per cent of respondents have reservations about using these programs, due to factors such as the potential for hidden costs and fees (27 per cent), disclosure of personal finances (25 per cent) and perceived ineffectiveness of employer-provided resources (20 per cent).