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PRINCIPAL® RETIREMENT SECURITY SURVEY Q3 2021
PRINCIPAL® RETIREMENT SECURITY SURVEY Q3 2021
3 min read

66% of employers say Covid-19 has impacted workers' path to retirement

American workers and retirees are under continued stress. COVID-19 has caused many to reassess their lives and employment status. They’re seeking guidance with retirement income planning and financial concepts they don't understand. And plan sponsors want to help.

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4 new insights on consumers' current economic confidence and financial behaviors

INSIGHT 1

Consumers are under continued financial stress, which may be contributing to their decreased confidence in the economy.

icon of a piggy bank representing savings and finances.

Many consumers today feel stress when discussing finances

29%

WORKERS

13%

RETIREES

30%

17%

day-to-day finances
retirement savings

day-to-day finances

29%  

WORKERS

13%  
RETIREES

retirement savings

30%  

WORKERS

17%  
RETIREES
icon of a sales tag representing financial decisions.

Both workers and retirees are delaying financial decisions

41%

WORKERS

35%

RETIREES

36%

39%

31%

25%

home repairs
traveling
purchasing a vehicle

home repairs

41%  

WORKERS

35%  
RETIREES

traveling

36%  

WORKERS

39%  
RETIREES

purchasing a vehicle

31%  

WORKERS

25%  
RETIREES

Consumers are noticing increased prices in:

Workers vs. Retirees

graphic comparing price increases that workers and retirees have noticed from groceries to home repair and even gasoline.

Consumers' 12-month economic outlook

Optimism


Q2 2020Q3 2021
Workers32%18%
Retirees23%17%


Caution

  Q2 2020 Q3 2021
Workers 42% 48%
Retirees 44% 56%

 

Q3 2021 consumer confidence in the economic outlook is the lowest it has been in a year, since Q3 2020.

INSIGHT 2

COVID-19 has caused many consumers to reassess their lives and employment status—contributing to hiring and retention challenges for plan sponsors.

Graphic displaying 23%

Nearly a quarter (23%) of workers plan a job change in the next 12-18 months

  • 60% are seeking an increase in pay
  • 59% feel undervalued in their current role
  • 36% seek to advance in their career

Among retirement plan sponsors

Graphic displaying 73%
struggling to find qualified candidates
Graphic displaying 81%
concerned about the increased competition for staffing talent
Graphic displaying 71%
feel COVID-19 has impacted employees’ focus on their retirement accounts and their current saving and investing
Graphic displaying 66%
feel COVID-19 has impacted their employees’ path to retirement

INSIGHT 3

Retirement income planning is a focus for both workers and employers.

icon of financial professional on a headset and circle chart representing 74%.
74%

of workers who met with a financial professional sought help with retirement income planning

74% of workers who met with a financial professional sought help with retirement income planning

icon of graduation cap representing increase focus on retirement education.
40%
increased in the number of plan sponsors intending to focus on 'retirement planning education’ during the coming year.
2021
48%  
2022
67%  
From 48% of plan sponsors in 2021 to 67% in 2022.
2021
2022
48%  
67%  
From 48% of plan sponsors in 2021 to 67% in 2022.

INSIGHT 4

Consumers want advice and help with financial concepts they don't understand.

Interested in advice from a financial professional to discuss their personal situation

circle chart of 56% workers and 67% retirees interested in advice from financial professional.

Feel the plan service provider (not the plan sponsor) should provide investment education on plan investments

circle chart of 35% retirees and 58% workers wanting plan service provider to give investment education.
27%

of workers are interested in an online tool that could help them personalize their investment mix.

icon of desktop representing online tool.

According to plan sponsors, financial topics that workers need the most help with include:

INVESTMENT KNOWLEDGE
56%  
SELECTING INVESTMENTS
48%  
FINANCIAL LITERACY
47%  

Who did we survey? 

During September 2021 Principal® surveyed U.S. workers, retirees, and plan sponsors to gain insights about financial behaviors and saving for retirement.

1,803

1,803

workers & retirees

205

205

retirement plan sponsors
Three women sitting across table at work, discussing a project while wearing masks through a pandemic.

Learn more

Visit the retirement research hub or contact your local Principal® representative or your support team:

Annuities and income solutions: 866-309-1623

Retirement plans: 800-952-3343

Mutual funds: 800-222-5852

SURVEY METHODOLOGY AND RESPONDENTS

Online survey
Consumer:  20-minute survey conducted by Principal
Plan Sponsor: 15-minute survey conducted by Principal

Field dates
Q1: 01/29/21-02/09/21
Q2: 05/03/21-05-17/21
Q3: 08/26/21-09/07/21

Q3 respondents
1,803 consumers; 51% workers, 49% retirees
205 retirement plan sponsors

Margin of error
Consumer results: +/- 3.3% at the 95% confidence level
Plan sponsor results: +/-6.8% at the 95% confidence level/span>

Qualifications
Consumer: Age 20+; U.S. resident; Has a financial product or service with Principal
Plan sponsor: Key decision maker or day-to-day contact; U.S. resident; Has a retirement plan with services by Principal

Background
Principal conducts periodic "pulse" surveys with customers, employers, financial professionals and consultants to gain insights into timely topics.
The survey findings reported here explore plan sponsor and consumer concerns and actions surrounding saving for retirement as well as financial behaviors related to market volatility and covid-19.

Investment and Insurance products are:

  • Not Insured by the FDIC or Any Federal Government Agency
  • Not a Deposit or Other Obligation of, or Guaranteed by, Principal Bank or Any Bank Affiliate
  • Subject to Investment Risks, Including Possible Loss of the Principal Amount Invested

PQ13087 | 1881885-102021 | 10/2021

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This information is educational only and provided with the understanding that Principal® is not rendering consulting, legal, accounting, investment or tax advice. You should consult with appropriate individuals including counsel, financial professional or other advisors on all matters pertaining to business, legal, tax, investment or accounting obligations and requirements.


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