Transitioning to Retirement: How the Plan May Help

For decades now the typical career has consisted of approximately 40 years spent working, an “on time” retirement at age 65, and perhaps a decade spent enjoying the so-called golden years. But with better health leading to longer life spans, retirement now may last much longer — and require much more money. Today, employers and employees alike recognize that four decades of saving for a retirement that may last four more decades is, to say the least, challenging.

That’s the reason many people plan to work more years than they would like to before they finally retire completely. When asked recently, 54% of workers report they plan to work either full time (14%) or part time (40%) in retirement, and their employers often (76%) acknowledge that expectation. In fact, 85% of employers agree with the statement, “My company is supportive of its employees working past age 65.” Fewer workers, 77%, see it
the same way.

For 43% of workers, the transition into retirement would involve working fewer hours or in a different, less demanding, capacity. In fact, only 22% of workers say they plan to immediately stop working and retire fully.

Opportunity lacking for flexible and part-time schedules

While employers theoretically support workers taking a transitional approach into retirement (69% of them say many of their employees expect to work past 65 or do not plan to retire), just 38% offer flexible work schedules that could facilitate the transition. Fewer still (30%) allow employees to take a part-time schedule, downshifting from full time, or to take on jobs that are less demanding and stressful (21%).

What’s more, 75% of employers do not have a formal program that helps employees phase into retirement. Often, the reason given for the lack of a phased retirement program is that it’s easier to handle retirement transition requests on a case-by-case basis (39%). Thirty-seven percent say their employees aren’t interested in this kind of program, and 27% say operational and administrative complexities keep them from offering one.

More and better education could help improve retirement planning

Employers have opportunities through their retirement plans to assist workers with their transition into retirement, according to the cited study, the 19th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey, “Employers: The Retirement Security Challenge,” released in October 2019 by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. Simply sponsoring a 401(k) plan encourages employees to save more for retirement, according to the study. When their employer does not offer a 401(k) or similar plan, only about 50% of employees save for retirement. By providing more educational resources, including information about distribution options and retirement planning materials, they could use their retirement plan platform to help workers make better decisions for their retirement lives.

Click here read study highlights.

As part of its 19th Annual Retirement Survey, nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies® (TCRS) surveyed more than 1,800 employers of for -profit companies with five or more employees to gain insights into how they are supporting their employees. The survey findings are presented in aggregate and by company size, including small (5 to 99 employees), medium (100 to 499 employees), and large companies (500+ employees). The study also provides comparisons to TCRS’ survey of workers


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