Benefits

Worker Optimism About Retirement Security Grows: Towers Watson

By Jerry Geisel

Jan. 19, 2012

Employees’ confidence in their ability to retire comfortably continues to rebound, according to a new Towers Watson & Co. survey.

The survey of more than 9,200 employees, conducted in June and July of 2011 and released Jan. 19, found that 68 percent of respondents said they were very or somewhat confident about having sufficient resources to live comfortably through the first 15 years of retirement, up from 63 percent in 2010 and 61 percent in 2009.

In addition, 47 percent said they were very or somewhat confident about having enough resources to live comfortably through the first 25 years of retirement, up from 40 percent in 2010 and 39 percent in 2009.

“As the economy shows periods of stable ground, employees slowly are beginning to be more optimistic about retirement,” Kevin Wagner, a Towers Watson senior retirement consultant in Atlanta, said in a statement.

One factor boosting employees’ confidence level is the growth in many employees’ 401(k) account balances.

The “balances are visible for all employees, and that becomes a natural barometer of retirement confidence,” said Bill Daniels, a Towers Watson senior retirement consultant in Pittsburgh.

For example, according to Fidelity Investments surveys, employees’ average 401(k) account balance was $72,700 at the end of the second quarter of 2011, up from $69,400 at the end of 2010, $62,400 at year-end 2009 and $48,900 at year-end 2008.

Jerry Geisel writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email editors@workforce.com.

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Jerry Geisel writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management.

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