Democrats and Republicans can’t seem to agree on anything, but in a recent study by Lincoln Financial Group, voters from both sides of the political spectrum expressed concern about their financial futures and agreed on the steps they need to take to achieve a secure retirement outcome.
In its study, “Narrowing the Generation Gap: Focus on Retirement,” Lincoln Financial Group found that 92% of both Democrats and Republicans say they want to save enough so that they don’t have to work in retirement, but both parties share a lack of confidence about what they are doing to achieve that goal.
Only 26% of Democrats and 25% of Republicans feel they have planned well for retirement. Only 27% of Democrats and 33% of Republicans feel they have done a good job planning for their family’s future, and 38% of Democrats and 39% of Republicans feel they have a handle on financial planning and budgeting.
Eighty-three percent of Democrats and 80% of Republicans are optimistic about their financial futures so the big question becomes, “How do we bridge the gap between optimism and lack of confidence?” asks Jamie Ohl, president, Retirement Plan Services, at Lincoln Financial Group.
Working with an adviser is one way to bridge that gap, with 90% of both parties saying that working with an adviser increases their financial security.
Lincoln Financial Group found that 64% of Democrats and 61% of Republicans agree that day-to-day expenses can make it hard to plan for or save for retirement, and 68% of Democrats and 70% of Republicans find it difficult and overwhelming to understand their retirement plan options.
“[It’s] surprising that Democrats and Republicans are united in their priorities for the future. Everything we hear in the media is that they don’t agree on anything. I was very surprised by that,” Ohl says.
The other surprising statistic was that 95% of both parties say they trust their financial adviser. Just like someone making a New Year’s resolution to lose weight or get healthy, people need to make a resolution to improve their financial health, she says.
“Get a financial adviser who can make a plan with you and help you achieve those goals,” she says.
Financial wellness has become a major trend among American workers, helping them to better prepare for the unexpected, live comfortably and have the ability to control their day-to-day expenses and have the financial freedom to enjoy their lives, according to Eric Reisenwitz, senior vice president, head of group benefits product and operations for Lincoln Financial Group. Employers play a major role in making financial wellness and education a priority in the workplace.
In its research, Lincoln Financial found that only 55% of workers are on the right track toward a secure financial future, while 45% were on the wrong track. The study found five areas that helped workers feel they were in control of their financial futures. They tend to have a financial plan in place and nearly all of them have a forward looking view toward the future, Reisenwitz says.
Health also played a role. A high percentage of right trackers exercise regularly, eat well and are sick less at work. Emotionally, those who are on the right track feel comfortable with their personal lives and relationships. They tend to be less stressed and accomplishing something, he says.
A big part of a person’s success is whether or not they have access to benefits at work.
“Individuals who maximized their effort in attaining benefits through the workforce felt better and better about financial wellness depending on how many benefits they took advantage of in the workplace,” Reisenwitz says.
As part of the study, Lincoln Financial surveyed 400 LGBT working Americans to see how their financial futures had changed since the law passed allowing gay marriage in June 2015.
“Since the ruling, we found that one-third of LGBT employees have taken an opportunity to reevaluate their overall benefit program, increase their benefit program or make some changes both for themselves as well as looking at the new opportunity to include their spouse in certain coverages,” Reisenwitz says.
Bernard Whitman, president and CEO of Whitman Insight Strategies, says that was a significant change in one year. “The word is getting out. Companies are promoting benefits awareness.”
About 55% of LGBT employees weren’t sure how the marriage ruling would impact their benefits in the workplace and the opportunities they could have that changed.
Reisenwitz encourages employees to go back through their benefits and make sure their spouses are covered, especially as it concerns retirement benefits and designating beneficiaries. Many people could not designate their partners as beneficiaries before the law passed and now they can.
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