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7 in 10 U.S. employees not saving enough for retirement, WTW survey finds

More older workers plan to work beyond age 70 or never retire

Health and Benefits|Retirement|Wellbeing
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July 19, 2022

ARLINGTON, VA, July 19, 2022 — Seven in 10 U.S. employees (69%) recognize they are not saving enough for retirement, according to new research from the 2022 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey by WTW (NASDAQ: WTW), a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company. Additionally, those closer to retirement are now more likely than before the pandemic to say they will retire beyond the age of 70. The survey of more than 9,600 U.S. employees was conducted during December 2021 and January 2022.

According to the survey, the top three reasons employees cited for not saving more for retirement were paying off debts (36%); saving money for other reasons, such as holidays, purchasing a car or paying for education (28%); and not being able to afford to save more (27%). Over half of respondents (52%) are facing key risks to their retirement security. Those risks include saving less than 5% of salary and wanting to save more, borrowing from their 401(k) plan and withdrawing funds from their retirement plans.

Overall, three in 10 respondents (29%) now expect to work past age 70 or never retire, which is similar to the pre-pandemic survey results from 2019; however, while just one in four younger workers now plan to retire at age 70 or later, or never retire, the number of older workers (age 50 and over) who plan to do so has risen to 36% compared with 30% in 2019. This suggests the pandemic has changed the way different ages set retirement expectations.

“Saving enough money to retire comfortably while meeting current financial needs remains a significant challenge for a majority of workers,” said Mark Smrecek, senior director, Retirement, WTW. “At the same time, workers, and especially older ones, are asking themselves when they will be able to retire. With the pandemic and current economic uncertainty with inflation, how workers are transitioning to retirement is changing.”

Nearly three in four respondents with an employer plan (73%) said their employer’s retirement plan is the primary vehicle they use to save for retirement. And while seven in 10 (69%) of those with an employer plan said their retirement plan meets their needs, many employees would like more help from their employers. In fact, 44% of all employees rank retirement in the top three issues they most want their employers to focus on.

“Employees want help with saving for retirement. So, it’s imperative for employers to ensure their Total Rewards programs provide not only benefits that meet employees’ needs but also the employee engagement resources, tools and technology to make informed decisions about saving for retirement. When their financial wellbeing is strong, employees are more likely to be engaged and productive and less likely to leave their organization,” said Jennifer DeMeo, managing director, Integrated & Global Solutions, WTW.

About the survey

The 2022 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey was conducted during December 2021 and January 2022. Respondents include 9,658 U.S. employees from large and midsize private employers, representing a broad range of industries.

About WTW

At WTW (NASDAQ: WTW), we provide data-driven, insight-led solutions in the areas of people, risk and capital. Leveraging the global view and local expertise of our colleagues serving 140 countries and markets, we help organizations sharpen their strategy, enhance organizational resilience, motivate their workforce and maximize performance.

Working shoulder to shoulder with our clients, we uncover opportunities for sustainable success—and provide perspective that moves you.

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