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Managing daily expenses and the cost of living were the No. 1 reasons why employees don't save (or save more) for retirement, with 53 percent of U.S. workers citing these factors, according to findings from the
2014 Retirement Confidence Survey, released by the nonprofit Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).
"Existing debt is clearly an obstacle standing in the way of many needing to save for retirement," said Matt Greenwald, head of research firm Greenwald & Associates, which conducted the survey with EBRI. “Fifty-eight percent of workers and 44 percent of retirees say they are having a problem with their level of debt.”
"Those who are participating in a retirement plan, have calculated their savings need or worked with a financial professional are not only more confident, they have less debt and higher levels of savings," said Greg Burrows, senior vice president of retirement and investor services at The Principal Retirement Group, which co-sponsored the survey. "Having a plan for both spending and saving can help manage short-term needs and pave the way for more security in the future. The key is to take action."
Among other survey findings reported by EBRI:
"Perhaps the greatest challenge for HR professionals going forward is creating awareness among workers regarding their retirement options and continuing with educational programs and counseling," according to the Society for Human Resource Management's 2013 report
HR's Role in Preparing Workers for Retirement. "As the labor force grows older overall, retirement strategies will continue to be a focal point for HR for the foreseeable future."
Stephen Miller, CEBS, is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
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