Survey: Financial Crisis Causing Jump in Retirement Postponements

"Plan Sponsors and Participants: Partners in Times of Crisis," a survey conducted by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, found that the current financial crisis is having a substantial impact on retirement planning. Survey respondents not only reported a jump in the number of plan participants considering delaying retirement, but a quarter of respondents cite an increase in the actual number of eligible workers postponing retirement.

In addition to delaying retirement, nearly 30 percent of respondents report that defined contribution (DC) plan participants have decreased their overall retirement plan contributions and 34 percent believe plan participants have reduced their exposure to equities in favor of less risky investment alternatives. Plan sponsors of DC plans were more likely to report that their plan participants view the long-term impact as severe (31 percent), compared to 19 percent of defined benefit sponsors who think their participants feel that way.

Due to employee concern, and a significant increase in the number of participant questions, many plan sponsors have implemented a variety of communication and education efforts including employee newsletters, individual meetings with external financial advisors, and special group meetings with in-house staff.

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