The pandemic has caused a lot of economic upheaval in the last 12 months. Many business owners are concerned about their financial future. Landlords are feeling the pinch. Plenty of employees have lost their jobs, faced reduced hours, or otherwise lost income. Many had to dip into savings or take on new debt to tide them over.

Lots of people have stopped focusing on the future and are just trying to get through the day-to-day. Unfortunately, this economic hardship does have long-term ramifications. In particular, Canadians’ retirement plans could be in jeopardy.

What the Numbers Say

A recent survey showed that while some segments of the Canadian population remain optimistic about their financial future, many have their concerns.

Generally speaking, men are more optimistic about their financial futures that women. Canadians in the 18 to 34 segment are the most optimistic about economic recovery.

That makes sense, particularly in terms of retirement. Older Canadians, who are closer to retirement age, are likely concerned they don’t have enough time to “make up” any setbacks they’ve suffered in the last 12 months. People in the 50 to 65 age bracket likely feel this most acutely, especially if their investments took a hit or they needed to pause their savings for any reason.

People in the 35 to 50 crowd may feel they have a bit more time, but they could also be worried. If they’re out of work, they might not be sure when they’ll find another job, especially at the same wage. Even if they’re confident about investment recovery, they may be worried about their ability to make future contributions. If they had to use their savings, they might be concerned about their ability to “replace” those funds.

As a result, more than 70 percent of Canadians say they’re concerned about saving enough for retirement. About a third say they’ll need to push back their planned retirement date.

What Can Employers Do to Help?

There are a few things employers can do to assist employees who are concerned about their retirement savings. If you don’t already have an employer-sponsored plan, now is a good time to consider one.

You should also add an employer-match portion if you don’t already have one. This can help your employees save more without feeling the pinch in their pocketbooks.

You should also review the performance of any plans you do have. Are there pension plans that performed better or were less risky? You may also want to examine your total compensation package. Are there other areas where you could help your employees? Adding drug coverage to your benefits, for example. This could help employees who are currently paying out of pocket. Would they be able to use that money to help fund their retirement savings?

A program to help employees with debt might also be an option. Debt can eat up a good portion of your team members’ income. If they can get their debt under control or paid off, then they may be able to start saving more for retirement.

You don’t need to pay off your team members’ debt for them. A financial literacy program, access to a trusted advisor, or debt counselling could assist your team members to find ways to manage their finances, reduce stress, and save more for their future. Sometimes, what they need is a helping hand to make a plan and then stick to it.

A Little Can Go a Long Way

There are plenty of tactics employers can use to help their employees meet their retirement goals. Some of them are as simple as getting them the right advice, while others may involve benefits, compensation, and more.

Wondering if the benefits you’re offering your team members are really meeting their needs? It’s time to get in touch with an expert team. They can help you evaluate the benefits you have and create a plan that truly meets the needs of the modern employee.

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