Report Cites Big Employer Price Tag for Delayed Retirements

By Nevin Adams • April 11, 2017 • 0 Comments

Financial wellness proponents often tout the ROI of helping workers prepare and retire on time. A new analysis puts a price tag on the cost of deferring retirement.

In a publication aptly titled “Why Employers Should Care About the Cost of Delayed Retirements,” Prudential found that a one-year increase in average retirement age results in an incremental cost (the difference between the retiring employee and a newly hired employee) of over $50,000 for an individual whose retirement is delayed.

Moreover, the report notes that it results in an incremental annual workforce cost of about 1.0%-1.5% for an entire workforce. This represents the incremental annual cost of a one-year delay in retirement averaged over a five-year period. Prudential notes that for an employer with 3,000 employees and workforce costs of $200 million, a one-year delay in retirement age may cost about $2-3 million.

According to the analysis, on a national basis, a delay in retirement of:

  • One year may cost as much as paid sick and personal leave, or more than twice as much as life and disability insurance.

  • Two years may cost as much as either DC retirement plans, DB retirement plans or paid holiday leave.

  • Three years may cost almost as much as paid vacation leave, or over one-third as much as health insurance.

Those findings notwithstanding, Prudential cautions that the true cost of delayed retirement is likely understated in this analysis, because qualitative costs of delayed retirements — as the impact on productivity and on promotion and advancement opportunities in the workforce — are not considered.

Moreover, the authors note that while this analysis focuses on national averages, both qualitative and quantitative costs may vary significantly from employer to employer due to several factors.

The report cites data from the Stanford Center on Longevity that projects that by 2020, 7% of the workforce will be over age 65, up from 4% in 2010, and that a full quarter will be over 55 in 2020, up from 18% in 2010.

The report outlines several best practices for employers to help workers retire on time, including:

  • Consider adopting retirement programs with features (lifetime income, QDIAs, automatic enrollment, matching contributions) that help employees retire on time.

  • Provide education to help employees proactively make informed financial decisions.

  • Adopt a holistic approach to improving employees’ financial wellness.

  • Consider using data analytics to customize the cost of delayed retirement analysis for your organization.