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Prudential seeks to help turn employees into savers

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More than half of employees who are eligible to participate in their employer-sponsored retirement plans do not believe they will ever be able to save enough for a comfortable retirement.

Employers are also concerned about their employees’ eagerness to increase savings and their readiness to retire with a certain degree of security, according to Prudential Retirement’s (a business unit of Prudential Financial, Inc.) new research: Turning Employees into Lifetime Savers.

And it is not just those nearing retirement who are troubled. The research shows that one quarter of Millennials (those between 21 and 29) feel that they will not be able to stop working until they are over 70.

The research strives to alleviate a well-known but rarely acted upon problem: American’s lack of proper retirement planning. At this stage of the quandary, it is not a public awareness message about the importance of saving for retirement that workers need rather it is tactical and strategic information on how to do so: The research found that 88 percent of American recognize that saving for retirement is ‘a must’ they simply do not have the actual ability to do not have the ability to do so. 

The gap between what workers realize they should be doing and what they are actually doing was summed up as lack of motivation. Turning Employees into Lifetime Savers seeks to utilize the principles of behavioral science to assist employers with engaging workers to the extent that they are able to take control of their financial futures.

One product of the research is the Lifetime Saver Commitment Profile which will assist employers in encouraging plan participants to properly save for retirement. The Lifetime Saver Commitment Profile has a built-in index which measures employees’ dispositions when it comes to saving. The plan sponsor can then tailor programs and tools that will hopefully prompt individuals to take the necessary actions.

With the data provided by the index, employers will be able to personalize retirement communications and education to those who seriously need it. One troubling sign the research brought to light is that although workers are worried about having enough money in retirement, only one in ten employees eligible to participate in employer-sponsored retirement are considered ‘highly motivated’ with that motivation naturally and unfortunately increasing when workers are nearing retirement, when for many it is too late.

American workers want guidance. Our research revealed that the more motivated employees, who include a higher number of women, older workers and the well educated, share a proactive approach to retirement planning and savings, while many other employees still need guidance,” said George Castineiras, senior vice president of Total Retirement Solutions for Prudential.

According to the results of the research, it is guidance that is needed which would place the onus squarely on the shoulders of the plan sponsor. Some ways plan employers can work to motivate and guide employees include: Keeping employees engaged; removing barriers (reducing the degree to which employees feel overwhelmed and intimidated) and making it easy.