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Financial Stress Impacts Retirement Savings: CNBC Survey Reveals 40% of Workers with 401(k) Don't Contribute

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Financial Stress and Retirement Savings: Overcoming Challenges

A recent CNBC Your Money Survey conducted by SurveyMonkey reveals that financial stress is hindering retirement savings for many Americans. The survey, which included over 4,300 adults in the U.S., found that 74% of respondents are feeling financially stressed, with 37% indicating high levels of stress. The top stressors remain consistent: inflation, rising interest rates, and a lack of savings. These financial strains make it difficult for workers to contribute to retirement plans.

Lack of Contributions to Retirement Plans

Among the survey respondents who are employed full-time or part-time, 41% do not contribute any money to a 401(k) or employer-sponsored plan. This means that they are missing out on a significant opportunity to improve their financial security for the future. However, the survey also found that 57% of workers are contributing to a 401(k) or company-based savings account.

Funding Strategies for 401(k) Plans

For those who are contributing to a 401(k) plan, the survey reveals various funding strategies: - 46% contribute as much as they can afford. - 24% put away as much as their employer will match. - 11% save up to the employee contribution limit for the year. - 8% save the automatic default amount set by their plan.

Maximizing Retirement Savings

In 2023, workers under 50 years old can save up to $22,500 in 401(k) plans, while those aged 50 and older can make an additional $7,500 in "catch-up" contributions. Some plans even allow for after-tax 401(k) contributions, enabling workers to save up to the total 401(k) plan limit of $66,000 in 2023, or $73,500 with catch-up contributions, by combining employee deferrals, company matches, profit sharing, and other employer deposits.

Understanding Investments and Retirement Preparedness

The survey reveals that workers have mixed understanding when it comes to their 401(k) investments. Nearly half, 46%, do not know what investments are in their 401(k), while just over half, 54%, are aware of their investment choices. Additionally, the majority of workers, 56%, admit they are not on track with their yearly 401(k) savings for a comfortable retirement, while 42% believe they are on track.

Financial Advisors' Recommendations

To ensure a secure retirement, financial advisors recommend the following steps:

1. Save enough to get the employer match

Most advisors suggest contributing at least enough to a 401(k) to receive the employer match. This can have a significant impact on savings, particularly for individuals with lower incomes.

2. Boost your emergency fund

Establishing an emergency fund is crucial before focusing on long-term retirement savings. Financial advisors recommend saving three to six months' worth of living expenses in a liquid and easily accessible account to protect against unexpected expenses.

3. Prioritize paying off high-interest debt

Reducing financial stress by paying off high-interest debt can be a wise strategy, even if it means temporarily adjusting retirement savings rates. Eliminating debt and reestablishing an emergency fund can provide a solid foundation for long-term financial security. In conclusion, the CNBC Your Money Survey highlights the impact of financial stress on retirement savings. By understanding the challenges and following the recommendations of financial advisors, individuals can take steps to overcome these obstacles and improve their prospects for a comfortable retirement.

Conclusion: Implications for New Businesses Amid Financial Stress and Retirement Savings Challenges

The CNBC Your Money Survey's findings on financial stress and retirement savings pose important considerations for new businesses.

Employee Financial Well-being and Business Success

The high levels of financial stress experienced by workers can directly impact businesses. Employee financial stress can lead to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and lower job satisfaction. As such, new businesses should consider the financial well-being of their employees as a crucial aspect of their overall business strategy.

Role of Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans

The survey's findings also underscore the importance of employer-sponsored retirement plans. By offering and promoting such plans, new businesses can not only attract and retain talent but also enhance their employees' financial security. This, in turn, can contribute to a more engaged and productive workforce.

Financial Education as a Business Responsibility

The survey reveals a lack of understanding among workers about their 401(k) investments. This presents an opportunity for new businesses to step in and provide financial education to their employees. By doing so, businesses can empower their employees to make informed decisions about their retirement savings and overall financial health. In conclusion, the challenges posed by financial stress and retirement savings can have significant implications for new businesses. However, by acknowledging these challenges and proactively addressing them, businesses can contribute to their employees' financial well-being and, ultimately, their own success.
Story First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/09/07/4-in-10-workers-with-a-401k-dont-contribute-to-plan-cnbc-survey.html
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