This week the Indexed Annuity Leadership Council (IALC) released The State of America’s Workforce: The Reality of Retirement Readiness study and corresponding white paper, which found retirement readiness is influenced by two key factors: the industry you are in and your company size.

Based on findings from a national survey of more than 2,000 full-time working Americans, across white-, blue and gray-collar industries, we are shedding light on the current state of how American workers are approaching retirement planning and preparedness.

The study shows blue- and gray-collar workers are less prepared for their golden years than their white-collar counterparts. The numbers are bleaker for blue- and gray-collar workers in the Food Preparation and Serving, and Personal Care industries, as well as workers at smaller companies. However, two blue- and gray-collar industries, Engineering and Protective Services, are breaking workforce stereotypes when it comes to retirement readiness – outpacing all white-collar employees.

Key Themes from The State of America’s Workforce Study:
  1. Access matters.

    Access to employer-sponsored plans correlates directly to retirement readiness. Fifty-nine percent of those prepared for retirement have access to a 401(k) plan, compared with 39 percent of unprepared workers. For the one in eight American workers who are not offered any type of retirement plan from their employer, the retirement income planning is a “do-it-yourself” endeavor. But with the “do-it-yourself” retirement reality comes empowerment. America’s workforce has what it takes to guarantee a retirement that fits their needs, even without access to employer-sponsored plans.

  2. Larger companies are better preparing employees for retirement.

    The larger the company size, the more employees feel informed about retirement planning and very excited about their golden years. Unfortunately, workers at small companies are two times more likely than employees at larger companies to feel their employer is not helpful at all in retirement planning.

  3. Information is key.

    Overall, American workers are satisfied with the amount of information their employer provides about retirement options. But compared to workers who feel very ready for retirement, unprepared workers show disappointment with the retirement information provided by their employers and lower levels of access to employer-sponsored plans.

  4. Need for guaranteed, lifetime income.

    Our retirement research shows workers are, above all, looking for lifetime income (nearly 80 percent), when asked to identify essential needs for retirement planning More than three-quarters of worker plan to meet this need by relying on Social Security. Given the sustainability concerns of Social Security, it is important to consider adding savings vehicles to your financial portfolio, like fixed indexed annuities (FIAs), that provide guaranteed lifetime income, in addition to principal protection from market declines, and tax-deferred growth. However, currently only two percent of pre-retirees are taking advantage of this option.

Despite gaps in retirement readiness and employer assistance, today’s retirement landscape offers a variety of savings options and planning resources for workers to create their own retirement freedom. Like never before, Americans have the power to take control of their financial planning, which is not only saving for retirement, but also securing retirement income to last the long haul. Financial resources such as online calculators and budgeting tools can help ensure an accurate, customized plan is in place with funds to last a lifetime.

Take a closer look at The State of America’s Workforce study by downloading the corresponding white paper, which provides ideas for getting the American workforce ready for retirement.


Is Your Work Environment Setting You Up to Achieve Your Retirement Goals? New Study Tells All.