LOS ANGELES, March 6, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Few workers in physically demanding jobs or "physical workers" feel they are on track to meet their estimated retirement income needs (31 percent U.S., 21 percent global), according to a global research report released today. The Unique Retirement Challenges of Workers in Physically Demanding Jobs is based on a survey of physical workers in 15 countries spanning the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia. It is a collaboration among Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement (ACLR) and nonprofits Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies® (TCRS) and Instituto de Longevidade Mongeral Aegon.
"Around the world, people have the potential to live longer than in any other time in history. Longer lives necessitate that people extend their working years and plan for a longer retirement," said Catherine Collinson, CEO and president of Transamerica Institute and TCRS, and executive director of ACLR. "Due to the strenuous nature of their work, people in physically demanding jobs are at risk of aging out of their occupations before they are financially ready to retire."
A Portrait of Physical Workers
The term "physical worker" includes people in a wide variety of occupations. In the survey, these workers self-identified as having jobs that involve extensive or sustained periods of physical activity, e.g., agricultural roles, construction and building trades, metal workers, miners and drilling, manufacturing and machine operators, military personnel, emergency responders, cleaning crews, etc. Among those who self-identified as physical workers, a portrait emerges:
- Most physical workers are men (66 percent U.S., 60 percent global).
- Most physical workers are under the age of 40. In the U.S., they have a median age of 36 (age 37 global), with 45 percent under the age of 35 (43 percent global).
- About half of physical workers have an undergraduate degree or higher (49 percent U.S., 50 percent global).
"Workers in physically demanding jobs tend to be younger. The good news is that time is on their side so that they can take steps to improve long-term employability and retirement prospects," said Collinson.
Retirement Preparations Require Reinforcements
In addition to relying on government and employer benefits for retirement income, physical workers in the U.S. and globally expect approximately 30 percent of their retirement income to come from personal savings and investments. Therefore, it is imperative that they consistently save throughout their working careers. In the U.S., almost half (47 percent) of physical workers are habitual savers who always make sure they are saving for retirement. Globally, only 35 percent are habitual savers.
Physical workers in the U.S. are also more likely to be planning for retirement, although the survey findings underscore an opportunity for improvement among all. In the U.S., 28 percent have a written retirement strategy (19 percent global) and 46 percent have a plan but it is not written down (45 percent global). Twenty-two percent of physical workers in the U.S. do not have a retirement strategy at all (33 percent global).
In the U.S. and globally, physical workers expect to retire at age 65 (median) and approximately three in 10 expect to fully retire after age 65 (28 percent U.S., 29 percent global). However, the survey findings reveal it may be easier said than done. Only 18 percent of physical workers are currently age 55 or older (U.S. and global). Even fewer are currently age 65 or older (6 percent U.S., 5 percent global), suggesting that as they grow older, they are either shifting into jobs that are less physically demanding or leaving the workforce.
How Physical Workers Can Improve Their Retirement Prospects
Physical workers can improve their retirement prospects by saving, investing and planning, identifying alternative career paths to remain in the workforce, and safeguarding their health. Three recommendations include:
- Get into the habit of saving and learn about retirement investing. Take advantage of the planning tools and resources offered as part of employer-sponsored retirement benefits. Estimate retirement savings goals and set forth a long-term financial plan for achieving them. Seek assistance from a professional financial advisor, if needed.
- Identify opportunities to transition from physically demanding to less physically demanding work as you grow older – and stay on top of new technologies, automation, and robotics that could disrupt your occupation. Keep abreast of the job market and employers' needs. Seek out training and professional development to learn new skills that can help you remain in the workforce until you are ready to retire.
- Protect yourself against preventable illness or injuries that could undermine your ability to perform physically demanding work – and help you stay on the job longer. Eat healthfully, exercise regularly, get plenty of rest, manage stress, and be sure to get routine physicals and health screenings. Make sure to have a contingency plan, such as disability insurance, in the event that you are unable to continue working.
"Workers in physically demanding jobs can do more to prepare themselves for longer working lives and retirement," said Collinson. "From a societal perspective, employers also play a critical role by providing retirement benefits and by offering pathways from physical to non-physical work with the necessary training to pursue them. Policymakers can pave the way for change, especially in areas in which incentives or reforms may be needed."
The Unique Retirement Challenges of Workers in Physically Demanding Jobs contains in-depth analysis, comparisons with non-physical workers, country fact sheets, and detailed recommendations. The report is based on findings from the 7th Annual Aegon Retirement Readiness Survey, which is based on a survey of 16,000 respondents including 4,800 physical workers in 15 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, and United States. The online survey was conducted in respondents' native languages between January 29 and March 30, 2018.
Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies®
Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies® (TCRS) is a division of Transamerica Institute®, a nonprofit, private foundation. TCRS is dedicated to conducting research and educating the American public on trends, issues, and opportunities related to saving, planning for, and achieving financial security in retirement. Transamerica Institute is funded by contributions from Transamerica Life Insurance Company and its affiliates and may receive funds from unaffiliated third parties. TCRS and its representatives cannot give ERISA, tax, investment or legal advice. www.transamericacenter.org
Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement
Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement (ACLR) is a collaboration of experts assembled by Aegon with representation from Europe, the Americas, and Asia. ACLR's mission is to conduct research, educate the public, and inform a global dialogue on trends, issues, and opportunities surrounding longevity, population aging, and retirement security. www.aegon.com/thecenter
Instituto de Longevidade Mongeral Aegon
A nonprofit organization with the purpose of paving the way for Brazilians to live longer and better lives. Its actions focus on work, cities and education, through initiatives such as the RETA Bill, the Urban Development Longevity Index - Mongeral Aegon Longevity Institute/FGV, and its website. www.institutomongeralaegon.org
Contact: Madeleine Reul
SOURCE Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies