The Baby Boomer Generation and Financial Stress

Millennials aren’t the only ones financially stressed. Most researchers focus on the Millennial generation because of burdensome student loan debt and underpaid employment. But the Baby Boomer generation deals with their own financial stress, which can affect their work and delay retirement.

Causes of financial stress

Emergency funds. Fortune reported that 32 percent of Baby Boomers do not have an emergency fund. Emergency funds are typically six months’ worth of savings to be used during an emergency, and the funds can provide a cushion when something unexpected happens. Not having an emergency fund means that people could get behind in their finances when the unexpected happens, such as an illness or a house fire.

Retirement. Retirement also creates some financial stress for Baby Boomers. According to the Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement (CSR), Boomers have less confidence that they can sustain themselves during retirement than ever before. Only 37 percent of Baby Boomers think that they will be satisfied in retirement, and only 34 percent think that they will retire without debt.

Baby Boomers have been delaying retirement because of their finances. The 2016 survey [PDF] from Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) discovered that 26 percent of employees intend to work until they are 70 years old. A smaller group (6 percent) believe that they will never be able to retire. This differs from the 1991 survey which showed that 50 percent of people expected to retire by age 65.

Financial wellness benefits

How can employers help to alleviate some of this financial stress? While many companies want to hold onto their experienced workers, organizations should be aware of the worries that their longtime employees could be dealing with financial stress.

Older employees often have more medical issues than their younger counterparts. Offering benefits that can take on some of these additional costs while providing accommodations for mature workers can go a long way in lessening the stress of your staff.

Paid sick leave. For example, generous paid sick leave days and more options to work from a home office could appeal to older employees. Younger workers may also benefit from flexible policies like these.

Health savings accounts. Health savings accounts that can go toward medical expenses can alleviate some of the costs of healthcare. Retirement savings incentives, such as higher company matches, and workshops on finances would benefit both older and younger workers. Many people don’t know how to save for retirement or believe that saving is beyond their reach.

Wellness surveys. One of the best ways to find out what your employees need is to ask them. Provide an anonymous survey for employees to send in that would give your organization an idea for what your employees are looking for from their employers and how your company can show greater appreciation for their contributions.

A benefits strategy that addresses the concerns that your employees have can help to build morale and loyalty to the company, as well as increase productivity and help the bottom line. Financial stress has real and observable effects on employees. The good news is that organizations can provide benefits that alleviate that stress.

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