Results of New 2022 Retirement Confidence Survey Finds Americans Remain Optimistic About Living a Comfortable Retirement

However, a third of workers and half of retirees who feel less confident cite inflation and the cost of living as reasons for their declining retirement confidence.


Washington, D.C., April 28, 2022
– American workers and retirees remain optimistic about living a comfortable retirement, despite the impact of the pandemic that has lasted for over two years. However, inflation and the cost of living are cited most often as a reason for feeling less confident in their retirement prospects. Workers want to focus on their retirement savings but face many challenges, in particular, debt. Read more

New Research Reveals Job-Seekers in Search of Higher Pay, Work-Life Balance, and Emerging Benefits Amid the Great Resignation

Washington, DC, February 25, 2022 – Greenwald Research (Greenwald), a leading independent custom research and consulting partner to the health and wealth industries, released new industry research from The Role of Work-Life Balance & Benefits in The Great Resignation Survey. The research shares the attitudes and motivations that are influencing Workers’ decisions to leave the workforce or change their employment status.

Greenwald’s quick-hit survey on The Great Resignation, found that a third of Workers say they made a job change in 2021, and an even larger share — closer to 4 in 10 – plan to make a job change in 2022. The groups most likely to have made a change or plan to make a change are contractors/gig workers, younger Workers (under 50 years of age), Black Workers, and Hispanic Workers.

Powered by response:AI, The Role of Work-Life Balance & Benefits in The Great Resignation Survey was conducted in January 2022. It explored the reasons why American workers were making or considering job changes and the role that traditional and emerging benefits play in these decisions.

 

Current Climate

Over the past year, 30% say their overall job satisfaction has improved, while 25% say it has declined. In their current jobs, workers are most satisfied with the relationships with colleagues and managers. While most are still satisfied, many employee benefits, including mental health resources, disability insurance offerings, supplemental health insurance, are lower on the list. Also, though 55% of current workers are satisfied with their pay, 26% say they are dissatisfied. This represents the highest level of dissatisfaction among the job aspects surveyed.

 

Reasons for Making an Employment Change

Workers who changed their employment in 2021 or plan to in 2022 provide a variety of reasons for making the switch. Aside from pandemic-related reasons, workers most often say their changes are a result of not feeling valued as an employee, experiencing burnout, or looking for greater work-life balance, including more flexible working hours, a better company culture, or remote work opportunities.

Pay

53% of Workers who made a change in 2021 say dissatisfaction with pay was a reason (major or minor) as to why they made a change. Of those who changed jobs, 45% say their base pay is higher than their previous job. However, for those looking to make a change in 2022, two-thirds are planning to do so because they are unhappy with their pay. Since roughly a quarter of respondents either express that having enough money to pay the bills (25%) or to pay off debt (23%) is their biggest source of stress, pay is clearly extremely important to consumers.

Work-Life Balance and Remote Work

More than half of those who made a change in 2021 did so because they were feeling burnt-out (57%), wanted more flexible work hours (55%), or wanted to work remotely (52%). More than four in ten who made a change did so because they needed more time to provide childcare (45%) or needed to care for an adult family member (42%). Nearly six in ten who made or are expecting a job change say working for an employer that understands the needs of working parents is important.

Remote work is an important employment consideration for many workers. Of workers who worked remotely at some point during the pandemic, four in five would like the option to do so at least part-time moving forward (80%).

Company Culture

54% of those who made an employment change in 2021 and 46% of those planning to make a change in 2022 say the company culture was not a good fit for them. Two-thirds say that culture is important when considering an employment change.

The top reason Workers left their jobs in 2021 was that they did not feel valued as an employee (59%). Half left their job in 2021 to pursue more professional growth, and of those planning to leave their job in 2022, at least half do not feel valued at their job or want to make a change for professional growth.

Benefits

More than four in ten workers who changed employment in 2021 or plan to in 2022 cite being unhappy with their employee benefits or allotted PTO.

More than six in ten who made a change deem benefits other than health insurance important when considering an employment change. Such benefits include mental health and wellness benefits, health insurance, vision insurance, PTO, dental insurance, and retirement plans.

Significant portions, although less than half, consider health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, and dependent coverage important when evaluating employment changes. In their new jobs, 44% of survey respondents are happier with the variety of benefit options, and 43% are happier with the amount of PTO available to them.

 

Effects of the Pandemic

The pandemic played a part in sparking the desire for change. A large share of workers decided to expedite their plans to make an employment change, either in 2021 or planned for 2022, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those under 50 years old and those with full-time jobs.

Nearly six in ten cite the pandemic as a major or minor reason in causing them to feel like they needed an employment change. 53% say they were scared to contract COVID-19 at their jobs, and 48% were unhappy with their employer’s COVID-related policies.

For those planning on making a change in 2022, 61% say the pandemic inspired their need for change. Slightly fewer, however, are scared to contract COVID at work (47%) or are unhappy with their workplace COVID-19 policies (42%).

 

What Would Make Employees Stay with Their Current Employer?

Those who either left a job or retired generally say their employer could not have done anything to make them want to stay. The most common themes mentioned include respect, organizational structure, physical space, and the need for better pay. Among those who plan to make an employment change in 2022, opinions are more split. Some respondents say better pay could make them stay, while others say there is nothing that can be done.

 

Only one in ten (11%) think better benefits could entice them to stay.
“Many of the drivers of job change are within the control of employers, such as culture, work-life flexibility, and pay,” says Greg Hershberger, Managing Director of Health & Benefits at Greenwald. “We wanted to know if traditional or newer employee benefit or insurance offerings could make a difference. While traditional benefits remain important in these decisions, it doesn’t appear the main challenges to retention can be solved by more insurance offerings at work.”

When asked about what emerging benefits are most motivating to employees, roughly seven in ten cite more flexible work schedules, a signing or retention bonus, the ability to retire gradually, unlimited PTO, or remote work as being at least somewhat impactful in a decision to stay with a current employer or move to a new one.

With the changing professional landscape sparked by the pandemic, employers now have a unique opportunity to take a fresh look at their compensation, benefits, and work-life balance structures to build an even more attractive environment for job-seeking Workers or to increase their current workforce’s satisfaction.

 

About the Research

Greenwald’s The Role of Work-Life Balance & Benefits in The Great Resignation Survey, powered by the response:AI platform, is an online survey exploring Workers’ motivations behind recent workforce changes and the role of benefits and work-life balance on those decisions. The survey was conducted from January 7 to January 18, 2022. Consumers were required to be ages 25 to 74 and must have been currently working or made employment changes in 2021 or planned to do so in 2022. The survey included 1,206 respondents.

The full results of The Role of Work-Life Balance & Benefits in The Great Resignation Survey are available for purchase. Contact Greenwald Research to learn more.

 

About Greenwald Research

Greenwald Research is a leading independent custom research and consulting partner to the health and wealth industries that applies creative quantitative and qualitative methods to produce knowledge that helps companies stay competitive and navigate industry change. Visit greenwaldresearch.com to learn more.

Contact:
Greg Hershberger
Managing Director, Health & Benefits
Greenwald Research
Greghershberger@greenwaldresearch.com
(202) 686-0300

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coworkers looking over documents

Plan Participants Want Options that Generate Retirement Income in Their Workplace Retirement Plans

Many plan sponsors are open to these solutions; 8 in 10 say these options would improve participants’ retirement security

WASHINGTON – January 12, 2022 – A recent study conducted by Greenwald Research focused on in-plan retirement income solutions found that 85% of plan participants wish their employer’s retirement plan had an option designed to help generate a stream of income in retirement.

Greenwald’s first annual In-Plan Insights Program was conducted throughout 2021 to explore and evaluate the defined contribution (DC) plan retirement income landscape. The multi-phase program, including research with plan participants, plan sponsors, and plan advisors, covered a range of topics from SECURE Act impact to retirement income planning needs to reaction to in-plan income concepts. The 2021 Program was sponsored by American Century Investments, BlackRock, Fidelity Investments, Lincoln Financial Group, Nationwide, Pacific Life Insurance, Principal Financial Group, and Voya Financial.
Read more

Survey Finds Interest in Telemedicine Surging, Growth in High-Deductible Health Plans Stalls After Reaching Record High Last Year

WASHINGTON – December 2, 2021 – The 17th annual “Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey” (CEHCS), a survey of privately insured adults conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and Greenwald Research, finds interest in telemedicine options doubled between 2017 and 2021. Satisfaction with telemedicine visits was high, with three-quarters stating they were satisfied or very satisfied.

Read more

Black and Hispanic Workers With Highest Income Face More Debt, Work-Life Balance Challenges, Than Their Similarly Paid White Colleagues

WASHINGTON – November 18, 2021 A new report based on the annual “Workplace Wellness Survey” (WWS), conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and Greenwald Research finds that Black and Hispanic workers are more likely to be financially challenged by debt and less able to handle an emergency or sudden large expense than their White counterparts. Moreover, while evaluations of work-life balance improve with income, Black and Hispanic workers in households earning $75,000 per year or more are less content with the work-life balance at their organizations than their White counterparts and are less likely than White workers to give high ratings to their employers’ efforts to improve various aspects of their wellbeing.

Read more

Stressed Employees Appreciate Employer Response to Improve Overall Wellbeing: Many Value Benefits More than Income Adjustments

WASHINGTON – October 7, 2021 – The 2021 Workplace Wellness Survey, conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and independent research firm Greenwald Research, finds that 76% of employees favorably view their employers’ efforts to improve their overall well-being. Employees recognize these initiatives, as one in three employees acknowledge increased focus by their employers to improve emotional, physical, and financial wellbeing.

Read more

Greenwald Research Announces Release of Medicare Broker Research

Greenwald Research, in partnership with the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance, announces the release of its latest Syndicated Study: Medicare Marketing & Distribution.  This research program surveyed 508 Medicare brokers, 1,023 health care consumers between 64 and 68 years old and interviewed executives at 5 national FMOs.  The research provides a 360-degree view of how Medicare is marketed and distributed today, including brand strengths and weaknesses among both consumers and brokers, drivers of loyalty and satisfaction, and opportunities for growth.

“Medicare is one of the fastest growing product lines of health insurance carriers today and the success of its distribution is of utmost importance to carriers and the industry,” said the study’s author, Edna Dretzka, Managing Director, Healthcare at Greenwald Research. “This study provides the first comprehensive look at who brokers are, how they select carriers and marketing organization partners, and what they need to succeed.”

Greenwald’s research program sheds light on important topics related to:

  • Industry dynamics: past, present, and future
  • Consumer and broker segments
  • Carrier selection and rankings
  • Key roles of carriers and field marketing organizations (FMOs)
  • Key value of brokers to consumers
  • Areas of opportunity for products and services

“This information provides important clarity to how Medicare is marketed and distributed today,” said Jesse Slome, Executive Director of the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance.

The results will be shared at the upcoming Medicare Supplement Industry Summit in Chicago, Illinois from September 8 through 10, 2021.

 

About the Medicare Marketing & Distribution Research Program:

The 2021 Medicare Marketing & Distribution Research Program studied three audiences: an online survey of 1,023 health plan consumers aged 64-68, an online survey of 508 health insurance brokers who sell group or individual Medicare, and telephone interviews with 5 Medicare distributors. March 1, 2021 – April 15, 2021.  For information on how to obtain the results, go to https://greenwaldresearch.com/medicare/.

About Greenwald Research:

Greenwald Research is a leading independent custom research firm and consulting partner to the health and wealth industries that applies creative quantitative and qualitative methods to produce knowledge that helps companies stay competitive and navigate industry change. By leveraging deep subject matter expertise and a trusted consultative approach, Greenwald offers comprehensive services for weaving rich research stories that answer strategic business questions. For more information go to www.greenwaldresearch.com.

About American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance:

The American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance supports insurance professionals and organizes the national Medicare insurance industry conference. In addition, AAMSI hosts the national online directory providing consumers with free access to find local Medicare insurance brokers and agents.   For more information, go to www.medicaresupp.org.

The 12th Annual, National Medicare Supplement Industry Summit will be held in Chicago, Illinois from September 8 through 10, 2021.  For more information, go to https://medicaresupp.org/2021-medigap-conference-expo/.

Confidence in Retirement Security Resilient in Face of Pandemic

Confidence in Medicare, Social Security Benefits Reaches All-Time High, Workers Stay the Course with Retirement Plans

WASHINGTON – April 22, 2021 Despite a global pandemic that created uncertainty in the employment and financial markets, the 2021 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) found eight-in-ten retirees are confident in their ability to live comfortably throughout retirement, similar to the 76 percent of retirees who were confident when the survey was last fielded in March 2020. Workers also remain optimistic, with 72 percent of workers expressing confidence in their ability to retire comfortably, up three percentage points from last year.

The 31st Annual RCS is the longest-running survey of its kind, measuring worker and retiree confidence about retirement. It is conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and Greenwald Research. The RCS was fielded in January. Last year, the RCS was fielded twice – once in January prior to the COVID-19 outbreak and then re-fielded through a supplemental survey of key questions from March 20-30, 2020, allowing for comparisons before and during the pandemic.

“Even with changes in the labor market, workers’ confidence in their ability to live comfortably in retirement remains high overall,” said Craig Copeland, EBRI senior research associate and co-author of the report. “However, while resilience may be the watchword for 2021, three-in-ten workers say the pandemic has negatively impacted their ability to save for retirement, due to reduced hours, income, or job changes. The group that was most likely to have their ability to save impacted were those that were more likely to have low confidence historically, such as low income, not married, and having a problem with debt.”

Nearly two-in-ten (18 percent) workers said their hours and/or pay were reduced since February 1, 2020. One-in-ten workers said they were furloughed/temporarily laid off. In total, 39 percent of workers reported their household experienced some type of negative job or income change since February 1, 2020. However, 21 percent of workers did report having some type of positive change in work in the same timeframe.

Workers who had a negative change in work were more likely to say that the COVID-19 pandemic reduced their confidence in having enough money to live comfortably throughout their retirement years. Half of workers who had a negative change in work said that they were either somewhat or significantly less confident as a result of the COVID-19 impact, compared with just 24 percent of those who did not have a negative change.

 

Retiree Lifestyle and Expenses Largely Unchanged

Despite the challenges of 2020, retirees continue to report their lifestyle and expenses are as expected or better. Eight-in-ten retirees report that their overall lifestyle – including traveling, spending time with family, or volunteering – is as expected or better, including nearly three-in-ten saying their retirement lifestyle is better than they expected. Despite a challenging and unprecedented year, these results are virtually identical to those measured pre-pandemic, in January 2020. About six-in-ten retirees indicate their overall expenses and spending in retirement are as expected and just 26% say spending and expenses are higher than expected – a decrease from last year.

“About seven-in-ten retirees report that their confidence in living comfortably throughout retirement was unchanged by the pandemic; 23% feel less confident and five percent feel more confident,” said Lisa Greenwald, CEO of Greenwald Research, and co-author of the report. “Retirees’ top priorities for discretionary spending in retirement continue to be travel and spending on leisure or entertainment. Many of these activities were curtailed during the pandemic, perhaps leading to lower spending. That’s one reason why we may be seeing these results. Another is the adaptability and resilience of retirees demonstrated throughout the RCS’ history. The survey shows retirees prioritize asset preservation and do not like the idea of spending down.”

Pandemic Increases Retiree Confidence in Medicare and Social Security

“Also, Social Security – a ‘major’ source of income for more than six-in-ten retirees – continued uninterrupted during the pandemic,” added Greenwald. Confidence in Social Security continuing to provide benefits of at least equal value to those received today reached an all-time-high among both retirees (72%) and workers (53%). Three in four retirees and nearly six in ten workers are confident that Medicare will continue to offer benefits of at least equal value to those received today, an all-time high since the RCS was first fielded and remarkable in a year marked by mass health concerns, especially among older populations.

Workers Staying the Course and Satisfied with Workplace Retirement Plans

Only 22% of workers adjusted the age at which they plan to retire because of the pandemic and its economic impact, including 17% who plan to retire later. The RCS continues to demonstrate that workers expect to work in retirement, which is drastically different than the experience retirees report. Three-quarters of workers expect to work in retirement compared to just three-in-ten retirees who report doing so.

More than four-in-five workers who are offered a workplace retirement savings plan are satisfied with the benefit. Just three-in-ten report having made changes to their plan in the past year. Among those that did, six-in-ten say they increased the amount they contribute, while one-in-four each say they reduced or stopped contributions.

“Showing further resilience, just one-in-ten workers who have saved for retirement say they have taken a loan, hardship distribution or early withdrawal from their workplace retirement plan in the past 12 months,” says Copeland. “The most likely reasons for taking this money out were for paying off credit card debt, or for a COVID-related need.”

About four-in-five plan participants were satisfied with the investment options available, although three-in-ten say they would like more options available, an increase from 22% in 2020. A quarter of workers with a workplace retirement plan say adding more investment options designed for post-retirement would be valuable, and about three-quarters expressed some interest in putting a portion of their plan savings into an investment option that would provide guaranteed monthly income for life.

Diverse Communities Face Different Challenges

To better understand differences in retirement-related behaviors and attitudes among workers and retirees, this year’s RCS included oversamples of Hispanic and Black workers and retirees. The survey included 731 responses from those who identified as being of Hispanic, Spanish, or Latino origin (404 workers, 327 retirees) and 741 completed surveys from those who identified as non-Hispanic Black or African American (380 workers, 361 retirees). EBRI and Greenwald researchers will be conducting a fuller analysis of differences by race and ethnicity and will issue a separate report on those findings in June 2021.

About the Survey:

The survey report, The 2021 Retirement Confidence Survey, is available at ebri.org. The survey was underwritten by AARP, Aon, Ariel Investments, Ayco, Bank of America, BlackRock, Capital Group, Columbia Threadneedle, Empower Retirement, Fidelity Investments, FINRA Foundation, J.P. Morgan, LGIMA (Legal & General Investment Management America), Mercer, Mutual of America, Nationwide Financial, New York Life, PIMCO, Principal Financial Group, Prudential, PGIM, Retirement Clearinghouse, T. Rowe Price, Segal, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Wells Fargo.

The 2021 survey of 3,017 Americans was conducted online January 5 through January 25, 2021. All respondents were age 25 or older. The survey included 1,507 workers and 1,510 retirees – this year included an oversample of Black Americans and Hispanic Americans.

Data were weighted by age, sex, education, household income and race. Unweighted sample sizes are noted on charts to provide information for margin of error estimates. The margin of error would be ± 2.5 percentage points for both workers and retirees in a similarly-sized random sample.

About EBRI:

The Employee Benefit Research Institute is a private, nonpartisan, nonprofit research institute based in Washington, DC, that focuses on health, savings, retirement, and economic security issues. EBRI conducts objective research and education to inform plan design and public policy, does not lobby and does not take policy positions. The work of EBRI is made possible by funding from its members and sponsors, which include a broad range of public, private, for-profit and nonprofit organizations. For more information go to www.ebri.org.

About Greenwald Research:

Greenwald Research is a leading, independent research firm that has been specializing in retirement, employee benefits, and health care research for over 35 years. For more information, go to www.greenwaldresearch.com.

Nearly 4 in 10 Say the Pandemic Has Permanently Shifted Their Vision of Retirement

New Research Study Reveals America’s Outlook on Retirement Amid COVID-19

Washington, DC, February 1, 2021 – Greenwald Research (Greenwald), a leading independent custom research firm and consulting partner to the health and wealth industries, released a new syndicated research study today, sharing data on Americans’ changing perceptions of employment and retirement in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With results gathered in December 2020, the Rethinking Retirement Survey—conducted with the advanced automated platform from response:AI—surveyed Americans ages 50–69 with at least $50K in household income to understand the population’s attitudes toward key employment and retirement trends as Americans rethink their plans while coping with the crisis. Pre-retirees and retirees responded with insights on how work and the workplace have changed, adjustments around when to retire, and lifestyle and financial goals during retirement.

The Impact on Retirement Timing Due to COVID-19

When to retire is a complex issue, and COVID-19 has complicated it further. One-quarter of American workers ages 50–69 now plan to retire later than they had originally intended. The biggest motivator for those pushing back retirement is the financial impact of the pandemic. Another 9% plan to retire sooner than intended, motivated by no longer wanting to work and a change in satisfaction derived from work. Additionally, many are worried about their health and safety when it comes to working in-person.

Lisa Greenwald, CEO of Greenwald Research, says pre-retirees are certainly reviewing their options. “Americans have experienced the impact of the global pandemic for almost a year now. Pre-retirees are reassessing their priorities, and while some are now seeing a financial need to work longer, others are fed up with the drastic changes to the workplace. These changing attitudes need to be considered, and what impacts they will have on the workforce long-term.”

Change in Retirement Lifestyle and Goals

The Rethinking Retirement Survey is helping piece together a clearer picture of how Americans envision their retirement years—including how they plan to spend their time and money after working. 38% of respondents in this study say the pandemic has permanently shifted what retirement looks like for them.

Many experts agree that the global pandemic will forever change the world of work and our decisions around traveling, volunteering, and spending time with family—activities that many look forward to during retirement. Additionally, 55% of pre-retirees see no point in retiring during the pandemic since they can’t do the things they hope for in retirement.

“COVID-19 has shifted the importance of retirement goals, with increased prioritization of time with family and friends, entertainment, leisure, and hobbies,” said Sharon Scanlon, head of customer experience, Retirement Plan Services, Lincoln Financial Group. “Taking time to set those retirement goals is critical, as is leveraging the help of a financial professional or available tools to help savers understand if they are on track to hit those goals.”

Preparing for Retirement

Just a quarter of pre-retirees believe they have saved enough for retirement, and over half are hesitant to retire because they are unsure how much money they will need in retirement. Additionally, many have not taken additional steps beyond saving to prepare for retirement. For instance, four in ten have not discussed when they plan to retire with anyone—including financial professionals or family members.

Pre-retirees have a drastically different view of transitioning into retirement than the experiences of retirees. “Pre-retirees are overestimating the likelihood of retiring gradually,” said Ali Ahmed, Director of Thought Leadership at Fidelity Investments. “They also have many worries not shared by retirees. These workers believe that managing finances will be difficult when they are retired, and that remaining in the workforce is the best way to stay happy. These views may be obstacles to taking the necessary steps to prepare for their future retirement lifestyle in a range of aspects.”

The research also reveals that 36% of pre-retirees say the pandemic has made caregiving a higher priority in retirement. “Caregiving is a growing issue for pre-retirees, who now believe they are now more likely to take on caregiving responsibilities due to the pandemic.” said Lisa Weber-Raley, Greenwald’s Chief Research Officer who leads caregiving research for the firm. “Even more interesting, pre-retirees see caregiving as both a reason to stay in the workforce longer and a reason to retire sooner.”

About the Rethinking Retirement Study

The survey of 1,019 individuals was conducted online between December 4 and 7, 2020. All respondents were between the ages of 50 and 69 and had at least $50,000 in household income. The national sample is weighted by gender and age to reflect the actual proportions in the population.

Complete findings from Rethinking Retirement are available for public purchase along with Greenwald’s recently released Millennial Attitudes Towards Life Insurance and Financial Security Study. To become a partner and gain early access to results in future studies, contact Greenwald.

About Greenwald Research

Greenwald Research is a leading independent custom research firm and consulting partner to the health and wealth industries that applies creative and quantitative and qualitative methods to produce knowledge that helps companies stay competitive and navigate industry change. By leveraging deep subject matter expertise and a trusted consultative approach, Greenwald offers comprehensive services for weaving rich research stories that answer strategic business questions. Visit greenwaldresearch.com to learn more.

Contact:
Mike Mills

mikem@sagefrog.com
267-454-2947

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