Employers can help workers realize retirement dreams, study suggests

Employers can help their workers determine when and how they'll retire with the proper programs and tools in place, a new study suggests.

With the average American needing retirement savings in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to finance the cost of living, individuals themselves are chiefly responsible for how well they'll live in life after work. However, employers have a substantial say in the matter - more than they realize, according to a newly released report.

Over 1 in 4 employers aren't going to great lengths to see to it that their workers are able to swing the cost of retiring, a new study from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies has found. Additionally, only 25 percent of workers say the company they work for provides "phase in" preparations for leaving the workforce for good, such as shifting from full-time to part-time duty.

Respondents came from 15 countries
More than 16,000 workers and retirees were analyzed in the TCRS analysis, stemming from the Aegon Retirement Readiness Survey performed last year. Participants came from more than a dozen countries, including Asia, Canada, the United States, Japan, Brazil and France.

"Only 4 percent of employers provide workers with retraining opportunities to lengthen career."

Other areas where polled employees said companies weren't doing their level best to make retirement a smoother transition were in the employment practices department. Only 4 percent of U.S. retirees - workers 55 years and older - said they were given retraining opportunities that would enable them to have more control of when they'll retire.

Catherine Collinson, executive director of the Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement and TCRS president, stressed that when employers provide training opportunities, workers may be able to delay their retirement a few years longer. The added earnings collected and saved can go toward supporting a more financially secure retirement.

"Maintaining existing job-related skills and acquiring new ones are important for workers of all ages and especially for older workers who want to work past normal retirement age," Collinson explained. "Employers can do more to help their older employees keep their skills up-to-date."

She added that in addition to increasing their workers' options, training opportunities have practical advantages that business owners stand to gain from.

"Employers may be overlooking the opportunity to tap into the knowledge, skills, and loyalty of older workers," she said. "By adopting business practices to support a flexible retirement, employers can benefit from improved succession planning and the ability to optimize their workforce management."

Collinson also highlighted how employers who provide more avenues to flexible retirement planning is a classic win-win situation that benefits all the parties involved, including the government. With Social Security, for instance, additional resources are freed up with the entitlement program if recipients decide to delay when they'll collect.

"More than one-third of today's workforce expects to rely heavily on Social Security in retirement."

Social Security reliance tied to household income
Social Security is just one of several resources that retirees look to for cost of living expenses. While many high net worth individuals and business owners increasingly rely on Leveraged Planning® Solutions as retirement income and estate planning enhancements, the government program remains a major source of retirement income for a solid percentage of Americans. More than 1 in 3 - 36 percent - of Americans who are still more than 10 years away from retirement age projects Social Security will be a "major" source of earnings once they decide to stop working on a full-time basis, according to a poll done by Gallup.

Improved health and financial factors have more Americans delaying when they'll exit the workforce, a separate survey from Gallup shows. Nearly 40 percent of Americans say they'll retire several years after turning 65. That's down from 30 percent when a similar poll was done in 2009.

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