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Bank of America Merrill Lynch today announced findings from its 2013 Workplace Benefits Report, a study of the increasingly significant role financial benefit plans play in helping the American workforce achieve financial wellness. Based on a nationwide survey of more than 1,000 employees from companies of all sizes, this research offers new insights into the availability, utilization and evolution of these workplace benefits – from 401(k) plans and health savings accounts (HSAs) to financial advice and education. Key findings include:
  • More needs to be done to help employees confidently transition into retirement
  • Tax-advantaged saving for medical expenses is becoming the norm, though many are saving less for retirement as a result of rising healthcare costs
  • 401(k) contribution rates indicate that the majority of younger workers may be comfortable with an automatic deferral of 5 percent
  • One out of four “pre-retirees” – employees who indicate being within five years of retirement – expects to have less than $250,000 saved
  • Workers are willing to give up portions of their salary for guaranteed retirement income
  • Employees are looking to their employers for access to one-on-one advice from a financial professional

“Corporate benefit leaders, the retirement services industry and legislators must continue to work together to improve and protect the effectiveness and health of our country’s retirement system,” said Kevin Crain, head of Institutional Retirement and Benefit Services for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “We see many employers actively working to empower employees to take greater control of their financial success, as well as enhancing their financial benefits to ensure they are results-based, easy to use and encourage healthy behaviors.”

For many employees, achieving financial wellness is increasingly tied to preparing for income needs during retirement, addressing the rising cost of health care and balancing competing financial demands throughout their lifetime. Although employers have made strides in recent years to help put employees in a better financial position, this study reveals a need for greater focus on the retirement readiness of the nation’s workforce and access to personalized advice that goes beyond retirement goals.

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