Employee Outlook on Retirement Amid COVID-19 Revealed in New Workplace Wellness Survey

Washington, DC, October 15, 2020 – Greenwald Research (Greenwald), a leading independent custom research firm and consulting partner to the health and wealth industries, today released more results from the 2020 Workplace Wellness Survey, an annual survey produced in collaboration with the Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI). The study examines attitudes toward benefits in the workplace as well as a spectrum of financial wellbeing, health insurance, and retirement benefit issues.

The 2020 survey was conducted for several weeks during July and early August. 1,028 workers participated in the survey, ranging in age from 21 to 64. 900 were full- and part-workers and 128 were furloughed workers. These findings reflect the 900 full- and part-time workers. This survey was made possible through funding support from organizations including Cigna, MassMutual, Mercer, Prudential Financial Inc., Segal, Unum Group, and Voya Financial.

An analysis of this survey and the January 2020 and March 2020 Retirement Confidence Survey revealed that retirement confidence remains high, dipping only slightly from January to July 2020. 62% are confident they will have enough money to live comfortably in their retirement, similar to the 65% measured in January and March’s 63%.

Employees appear satisfied with their retirement benefits and it does not appear that COVID-19 greatly affected employees’ long-term feelings and plans about retirement. Complete findings from the Workplace Benefits Survey will be made available to partners. Key findings from the report include:

Workers are generally satisfied with their retirement plans and find those plans easy to understand.

  • Nearly six in ten employees (58%) are satisfied with the retirement plan benefits they receive from their employer.
  • Of those with an employer-sponsored retirement plan, two in three find it easy to understand.
  • 9 in 10 say their retirement benefits contribute to their feelings of financial security, including 55% who say they contribute “a lot.”

Despite COVID-19, most plan participants committed to their retirement plans.

  • Workers plan to retire at a median age of 63. Only 28% have made changes to their expected retirement age, including 18% now planning to retire later.
  • Only 4 in 10 feels financially prepared to retire 5 years earlier than expected due to health issues.
  • Even though half agree that their workplace retirement plan is the only significant emergency savings they have, only 9% have taken a loan from their plan since Feb 1, 2020, the start of the pandemic.
  • Confidence in retirement plans is high with 70% of respondents making no changes to their plan contributions or how those savings are invested.

Education is desired both in preparation for retirement and during retirement.

  • 3 in 10 workers want more education and advice about how much to save and how to invest for retirement.
  • 27% are interested in how to generate income in retirement.
  • Roughly a quarter are interested in learning more about how to transition from work to retirement, and how to manage healthcare in retirement.

Greenwald Research CEO, Lisa Greenwald, summarizes, “I was pleasantly surprised that we didn’t see panicked reactions in these results. Those still working are generally staying the course. Despite rule changes around plan loans and withdrawals, most continue to treat their retirement plan as a tool or an asset for the long-term.”

Complete findings from the Workplace Wellness Survey are available for Partners.

More information on becoming a Partner is available here.

Other Resources

Fact Sheet

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.

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.

Contact:
For Greenwald:
Mike Mills
mikem@sagefrog.com
267-454-2947

For EBRI:
Betsy Jaffe
Employee Benefit Research Institute
press-media@ebri.org
202.775.6347

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