Benefits

Guidance Tops Employee Most-Wanted List For Retirement Benefits In 2024

Access to financial advisors linked to retirement planning remains high priority

A new report from Morgan Stanley At Work reveals retirement and financial planning support top list of retirement benefits employees think will help them meet financial goals.

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Morgan Stanley at Work today released results from its fourth annual State of the Workplace Financial Benefits Study, which demonstrate that employees once again voted retirement planning support and financial guidance top of their list for most-wanted financial benefits. Results indicate that amid an uncertain economic climate, employees are reducing plan contributions, yet at the same time seeking financial guidance from workplace resources. The ability for employers to meet employee needs and expectations around retirement support prevails as a key factor in talent attraction and retention.

Key findings from the data include:

  • Retirement guidance and financial guidance top the list of must-haves: Retirement preparation assistance is the top choice for employees, followed by help with financial planning and goals-based retirement investment planning. For HR leaders, goals-based retirement investment planning comes first, followed closely by access to a financial planner and retirement planning tools and calculators. In fact, both employees and HR leaders alike rank access to a financial advisor among their top-three choices for the most beneficial retirement planning assistance.
  • Employees are accelerating financial planning efforts: Even as economic conditions improve and fewer employees say financial stress is negatively affecting their work and personal life (a four percentage point decrease since 2023), nearly 8 in 10 (78%) still feel pressure to accelerate their financial planning to help make up for lost time—emphasizing the continued importance of comprehensive and long-term support through financial benefits like retirement.
  • Retirement plan participants value guidance even more highly: Employees who participate in their company 401(k)s are more likely than the general population to say that they need financial investment planning support (77% vs. 68%). They are also more likely to feel the need to accelerate their financial planning to make up for lost time (82% vs. 72% who don’t participate). In fact, retirement planning assistance from professionals is so important to retirement participants that 63% say it is a top or high priority when choosing where to work.
  • Employees are cutting back on contributions: Nearly two in three employees (63%) say they are still reducing contributions to their workplace financial accounts (nearly on par with 66% in 2023 and 62% in 2022) due to the economic environment. In fact, this year even more employees say they are reducing contributions to their 401(k) plans (36%, up three percentage points since 2023).

“Our research continues to show that employees make better choices and engage more deeply with their retirement plans when they have access to financial education and guidance—in turn driving business outcomes, such as attracting and retaining talent,” said Jeremy France, Head of Institutional Consulting Solutions at Morgan Stanley. “HR leaders and employees are equally invested in continuing to improve how companies can better assist their benefits participants. Plan sponsors, providers, advisors, and record keepers have a clear mission to continue to work together to find the right blend of retirement support, with education an essential ingredient.”

More From Morgan Stanley At Work

Additional details are available in Morgan Stanley at Work’s State of the Workplace Study here. As part of a series of findings from Morgan Stanley at Work’s third annual study, the business will publish its findings on equity and financial benefits in the coming weeks.

 

 

 

Methodology
The data from the Morgan Stanley at Work Employees Survey and HR Leaders Survey comes from a survey of 1,000 U.S.-employed adults and 600 HR leaders for companies by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com).
About Morgan Stanley at Work
Morgan Stanley at Work provides workplace financial benefits that build financial confidence and foster loyalty—helping companies attract and retain top talent. Our end-to-end solutions support your organization at any stage of growth through a powerful combination of modern technology, insightful guidance, and dedicated service; they include Equity, Retirement, Deferred Compensation, Executive Services, and Saving and Giving solutions. And while we’re fulfilling your company’s benefits needs, we’re also enhancing your employees’ financial well-being. Each benefit solution also includes our engaging Financial Wellness program, which provides employees with knowledge, tools, and support to help them make the most of their benefits and achieve their life goals.
About Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management is a leading financial services firm that provides access to a wide range of products and services to individuals, businesses, and institutions, including brokerage and investment advisory services, financial and wealth planning, cash management and lending products and services, annuities and insurance, retirement, and trust services.
About Morgan Stanley
Morgan Stanley is a leading global financial services firm providing a wide range of investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services. With offices in 42 countries, the Firm’s employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals. For further information about Morgan Stanley, please visit www.morganstanley.com.