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Goldman Sachs Asset Management Survey: 65% of Workers Expect Competing Priorities to Delay Their Retirement

Employers 09.26.2023 10 MIN

Employees saving for retirement face a complex web of personal and economic challenges—a “Financial Vortex” of competing priorities—that continues to threaten their savings even as overall economic conditions improve.

This year’s Retirement Survey & Insights Report1 from Goldman Sachs Asset Management provides unique insights for employers as they examine how to help support their employees. The report examines both the sentiment of employees and retirees, factors impacting their ability to save, and steps employers can take to help employees navigate turbulence on their retirement journey.

78% of working respondents with a financial plan report their retirement savings as on-track or ahead of schedule, compared to just 34% without a plan.

Video sourced by Goldman Sachs Asset Wealth Management and is being curated and used by Goldman Sachs Ayco, an affiliate of Goldman Sachs and Co. LLC for the purposes of educational use. Materials should not be repurposed or redistributed without the consent of Goldman Sachs.

Key Takeaways

At a high level, the survey found2:

  • Inflation remains a top concern for workers and retirees.
  • Two-thirds of working respondents expect competing priorities to delay their retirement, with nearly 50% believing the delay will be a year or more, and 21% expecting to delay retirement four or more years.
  • Having a personalized financial plan may help you avoid significant retirement delays and reduce stress over the inflationary environment:
    • 78% of working respondents with a financial plan report their retirement savings as on-track or ahead of schedule, compared to just 34% without a plan.
    • 40% of respondents with a financial plan expect no delay in their retirement, despite competing priorities.
    • 49% of respondents with a financial plan characterized the inflationary environment as stressful, compared to 66% without a plan.
  • Nearly half of working respondents are trying to self-manage their retirement savings, yet only 13% correctly answered all five questions designed to assess basic financial literacy.
  • Having emergency savings can help alleviate the stress of managing retirement savings.
    • 56% of working respondents have less than three months of emergency savings.
    • Of those who have emergency savings, 45% report being stressed, but of those who reported having no emergency savings, 59% are stressed.


Competing priorities refers to credit card debt; paying down existing loans; saving for college; caring and financially supporting family members; time out of the workforce; financial hardships; too many monthly financial expenses. Source: Goldman Sachs Asset Management 2023 Retirement Survey & Insights Report conducted between June 16, 2023 – July 8, 2023.

How Employers Can Support Their Employees’ Retirement Plans

Key survey findings indicating the most effective means for employers to support their employees include:

  • 45% of retirees said the most successful thing that helped them retire was saving in their workplace retirement plan.
  • 51% of retirees stated their employer retirement program was also the most important source of education and advice as part of their retirement planning process.
  • Employees most want their employers to offer emergency savings accounts and professional financial planning and advice services.


For Employers: The Cost of Financial Precarity3

Carrie Leana, PhD, University of Pittsburgh

Professor Leana analyzed the impact of financial concerns (i.e., financial precarity) in the workplace among truck drivers and certified nursing assistants, respectively. Research showed that financial precarity negatively impacted the employees’ job performance. In some cases, there is true financial cost to the organization or, in other cases, it may be a service quality issue. Helping individuals balance their financial needs may have a direct link to increased job performance.


Rethinking the Role of the 401(k)

When employees come to work, they bring their whole selves—their professional goals, work ethic, passion and desire to grow, but also their personal challenges like a sick family member or finance struggles. The findings of the report further reinforce employees’ desire for personalized financial support from their employers, such as financial education and help with near-term or immediate financial challenges.

As a result of the SECURE Act 2.0, employers now have new tools at their disposal to help employees address financial priorities that were previously unrelated to retirement. Student loan repayment, financial education and new distribution options are set to become a critical part of plan design discussions.

How May 401(k) Plans Evolve?

Source: Goldman Sachs Asset Management 2023 Retirement Survey & Insights Report conducted between June 16, 2023 – July 8, 2023.

What do employees want? According to the report, the services or features that employees want most from their employer are an emergency savings account and professional financial planning and advice services, further showing the desire to receive help navigating immediate financial challenges. In fact, 46% of working respondents admit to the stresses of managing their retirement savings and say a personalized financial plan and access to a professional financial advisor would most effectively help lower that stress.


Supporting Employees’ Financial Journey

The next generation of 401(k) plan design starts with recognizing the financial challenges that individuals face and utilizing enhanced methods to help them navigate increasingly complex and unique circumstances.

  • Building financial foundations and financial resiliency can help individuals weather the unexpected.
  • A personalized plan can help support an individual’s path to retirement.
  • And retirement income resources can help anchor individuals as they seek retirement.


The report concludes that there is no one path or solution that solves retirement for all individuals. However, there’s opportunity to provide workers with more integrated, personalized, effective solutions to help meet their retirement goals.

The 2023 Retirement Survey & Insights Report provides a deeper dive into these findings, including more information about how you can help your employees prepare for retirement.

By serving as an extension of your HR team, Goldman Sachs Ayco can help your employees navigate the Financial Vortex of retirement challenges—while helping them understand, appreciate and maximize the retirement benefits your company offers.

Interested in learning how Goldman Sachs Ayco can work to meet your organizational goals and support your employees? Contact us to learn more.

Based on “Retirement Survey & Insights Report 2023” Insights by Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

Source: Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s 2023 Retirement Survey & Insights Report; Refer to the report for full disclosures.

2 The survey was conducted by Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Qualtrics Experience Management among 5,261 US participants between June 16, 2023 – July 8, 2023. Findings provide insights from a diverse set of perspectives, including (i) working individuals (3,673 working individuals across generations—working Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z), (ii) retired individuals (1,588 retired individuals age 45-65+) and (iii) gender and generational breakdowns for both populations. Views expressed discussed are those of survey respondents. This material is provided for educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy or sell securities.


3 Source: University of Pittsburgh. As of 2019. Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s and University of Pittsburgh’s Study are not related, and University of Pittsburgh has not endorsed either Goldman Sachs Asset Management or its services. There can be no assurance that the same or similar results to those presented above can or will be achieved.


Video sourced by Goldman Sachs Asset Wealth Management and is being curated and used by Goldman Sachs Ayco, an affiliate of Goldman Sachs and Co. LLC for the purposes of educational use. Materials should not be repurposed or redistributed without the consent of Goldman Sachs.

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Filmed on 10.18.2023

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