In its newest annual survey of working Americans, financial protection benefits provider Unum has found that a growing number of employees are feeling financially insecure, as over 40 percent are choosing to postpone retirement. An additional 50 percent lack confidence that their savings will cover future expenses for potential occurrences such as illness, injury, or other circumstances of lost income. Women were found to be much more likely to feel financially insecure compared to men with 40 percent of women reporting these feelings and 33 percent of men.
“Anxiety over finances increased in 2012, indicating that the modest improvements to our economy are not yet being felt by working Americans,” said Barbara Nash, vice president of research for Unum.
But 77 percent of employees rating their benefits package as very good to excellent also feel that they are financially secure. The survey found that only one-third of employees can rely on employee-sponsored disability benefits in an instance of illness or injury that forces them out of work. The most likely sources of income-replacement were reported as personal savings (56 percent) and family members (52 percent). The average current predicted retirement age was 67.1 years, rising by 2.6 years over the inaugural survey in 2007.
“This research underscores a disconnect between financial expectations and realities,” Nash said. “Research indicates that a very large percentage of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Yet our findings show that employees still believe they can rely on savings and each other if an illness or injury occurs.”
She continued, “Providing employees with disability insurance – which replaces an average of 60 percent of income if an employee is unable to work because of illness or injury – goes a long way in settling financial anxieties of employees.”