QUES­TION + AN­SWER

ALEXAN­DRA TAUSSIG Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent, Fidelity In­vest­ments

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS -

Man­ag­ing a health­care work­force comes with unique chal­lenges—in­clud­ing how to help em­ploy­ees plan for re­tire­ment. New data paints an in­ter­est­ing story about how health­care work­ers feel about re­tire­ment, how ready they are, and what can be done to max­i­mize their en­gage­ment.

Q> What chal­lenges are unique to health­care em­ploy­ees?

A> Health­care jobs are de­mand­ing, of­ten re­quir­ing long hours and emo­tion­ally drain­ing tasks of em­ploy­ees. Work­ers are not think­ing about them­selves or their money while at work, but about pa­tients, which can trans­late to lower en­gage­ment in re­tire­ment pro­grams and re­sources. Fidelity’s Money FIT Nurs­ing study found that 62% of nurses who have ac­cess to free re­tire­ment guid­ance at work do not take ad­van­tage, with 33% cit­ing a lack of time as their big­gest ob­sta­cle. In­creased ac­ces­si­bil­ity to re­tire­ment re­sources helps health­care work­ers bet­ter un­der­stand their fi­nan­cial po­si­tions. One- on- one ses­sions of­fered on the hospi­tal floor are the best way to reach nurses, in our ex­pe­ri­ence.

Q> How do health­care em­ploy­ees feel about re­tir­ing?

A> In our 2015 “De­ci­sion to Re­tire” sur­vey, 75% of health­care work­ers said they want to re­tire be­fore turn­ing 67, but only 59% think they will do so. Al­most a quar­ter of health­care em­ploy­ees said they do not feel at all fi­nan­cially pre­pared to re­tire. How­ever, when we an­a­lyzed their sav­ings against their es­ti­mated ex­penses in re­tire­ment, 8 out of 10 were ac­tu­ally on track to meet their re­tire­ment in­come goals. The per­cep­tion doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily match the num­bers, which is some­thing that can be solved through ed­u­ca­tion. Some in­ter­est­ing rea­sons why health­care work­ers choose not to re­tire: 55% said work keeps them in­tel­lec­tu­ally chal­lenged, and 30% said they have fi­nan­cially de­pen­dent chil­dren they feel re­spon­si­ble to sup­port. (This is a grow­ing sect, ac­cord­ing to our data, as peo­ple be­come par­ents later in life.)

Q> How do cer­tain de­mo­graphic groups com­pare with oth­ers?

A> Nurses as a group are ex­cel­lent savers, es­pe­cially in the Baby Boomer gen­er­a­tion. Though they are of­ten un­sure of their re­tire­ment po­si­tion, as a re­sult of com­pany merg­ers, job changes or a lack of knowl­edge about in­vest­ing, which leads to feel­ing of anx­i­ety or un­pre­pared­ness. Sixty-eight per­cent of nurses are at least a lit­tle con­fused about nav­i­gat­ing their fi­nan­cial path for the fu­ture, and said they could use more knowl­edge to en­able them to make smart fi­nan­cial de­ci­sions. Sur­pris­ingly, physi­cians are not as fi­nan­cially pre­pared for re­tire­ment as many may think. So­cial Se­cu­rity cov­ers about a third of an av­er­age worker’s re­tire­ment in­come, but be­cause physi­cians are so highly com­pen­sated, it cov­ers only 12% to 15% of their re­tire­ment in­come. While they too are good savers, only half are putting aside our rec­om­mended sav­ings rate of 15%. Non-qual­i­fied re­tire­ment plans, such as a 457(b), rep­re­sent a greatly un­tapped re­source for physi­cians and health­care ex­ec­u­tives to save be­yond the com­pany-spon­sored qual­i­fied plan. 71% of physi­cians are not cur­rently con­tribut­ing to their com­pany’s non­qual­i­fied re­tire­ment plan.

Q> How can health­care em­ploy­ers gauge the re­tire­ment readi­ness and fi­nan­cial well-be­ing of their work force?

A> Your re­tire­ment plan provider should be able to an­a­lyze your work force by cer­tain de­mo­graph­ics— ge­og­ra­phy, part- time vs. full- time, gen­der, oc­cu­pa­tion type, and more. Th­ese types of anal­y­ses can help em­ploy­ers iden­tify which groups are vul­ner­a­ble, and de­velop fo­cused pro­grams to im­prove their em­ploy­ees’ fi­nan­cial po­si­tion, re­tire­ment readi­ness, and ul­ti­mately, work­place sat­is­fac­tion.

Mod­ern Health­care and Fidelity In­vest­ments are in­de­pen­dent en­ti­ties and are not legally af­fil­i­ated. This Q&A was con­ducted by Mod­ern Health­care Cus­tom Me­dia as part of the sup­ple­ment. Views ex­pressed are as of pub­li­ca­tion date and may change based on mar­ket and other con­di­tions.

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