Question: Over the past couple of years, some of our retirement-age employees have opted to continue working. While their expertise and experience are invaluable, it has resulted in some unplanned challenges for our organization. Do you know if this is part of a growing trend?
Answer: It is somewhat of a growing trend and understandable if it catches many plan sponsors by surprise. Consider the following:
- According to a 2020 Employee Financial Wellness Survey by iGrad/Wellable, one-third of employees nearing retirement (ages 55–64) feel they don’t have enough saved to retire.
- According to PwC’s 2020 Employee Financial Wellness Survey, delayed retirements can be expensive for employers, with increased annual costs of 1% to 5%. The survey noted that workers delaying retirement usually have more paid sick leave and vacation days, along with higher life, disability, and health insurance costs.
There are some basic things you can do as a plan sponsor to help buck the trend. For example, if you haven’t already, consider leveraging auto enrollment and auto escalation to encourage more effective saving strategies among employees. Also, make sure employees over the age of 50 are aware of “catch up” contributions — extra money they are allowed to save toward retirement each year ($6,500 is the amount for 2021, on top of the $19,500 maximum that all employees can contribute). You may also want to think about implementing some basic personal finance education, focusing on topics such as budgeting and debt management, to help improve the overall financial health of your employees.