Employees filled with gloom over retirement

A whopping 76 percent of U.S. employees — more than three out of four — believe that they’re going to be worse off in retirement than their parents.

That’s according to the “2015 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey” by Willis Towers Watson, which also found that that attitude of gloom pervades many aspects of the retirement picture.

Almost as many workers — 71 percent — believe that Social Security will be less generous, and when it comes to health worries, 70 percent are also anticipating decreasing government-provided health benefits.

Employers should be sitting up and paying attention to all this, particularly since another finding of the survey is that all this foreboding is taking a toll on their employees — negatively affecting their daily lives, job performance and productivity.

The study, which polled almost 5,100 U.S. employees, found less than half of respondents (48 percent) are satisfied with their financial situation.

This is actually a tad better than 2013, when even fewer were satisfied with their finances — 46 percent — and considerably better than 2009, when only 26 percent were satisfied in the wake of the financial crisis.

However, before anyone gets too enthused over those results, the study also found that many employees remain concerned about how long their retirement savings will last.

Thirty-one percent are afraid they’ll run out of money by the time they’re 15 years into retirement; fully half (50 percent) expect that within 25 years they’ll be out of funds.

Specifically, their money fears are these: A fifth of respondents (21 percent) have financial worries that are negatively affecting their lives; four in 10 (41 percent) often worry about their financial state; and more than a third (36 percent) are worried about their levels of debt.

And here’s how that translates to workplace woes: 28 percent of people struggling with their finances admitted that it prevents them doing their best at work.

When they’re in the office, respondents who are struggling financially reported being highly distracted on the job 12.4 days per year on average, compared to 8.6 days for those not worried about their finances.

And that’s when they’re actually in the office; absenteeism is higher among employees with financial concerns, and that was borne out in the survey results.

People who are not worried about their finances reported they took an average of 1.9 absence days from work per year, whereas employees who are struggling financially are absent for an average of 3.5 days per year.