刘伯温期期准选一肖

刘伯温期期准选一肖

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Retirement confidence is up, but why?

刘伯温期期准选一肖

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Retirement crisis? What retirement crisis?
Savers in several countries "experienced a dramatic increase in their confidence that they would meet retirement goals," according to a newsurvey commissioned by State Street Global Advisors. Some 51 percent of U.S. investors participating in an employer–sponsored retirement plan said they were very or extremely confident they will meet their retirement goals, up from 21 percent in 2013. (Tweet This)
The survey was conducted just months after the Employee Benefit Research Institute, or EBRI, and Greenwald & Associates conducted a 2015 Retirement Confidence Survey, which found 22 percent of workers very confident about having enough money for a comfortable retirement, up from 13 percent in 2013.
"The major change in the United States is the continuing improvement in the economy, with unemployment moving down and so forth," said Fredrik Axsater, head of global defined contribution for State Street Global Advisors.
But dig deeper and it becomes clear that even if confidence is rising, it may not be spreading more widely.
The increase in retirement confidence comes almost entirely from Americans who report having a retirement plan, either an IRA, a traditional pension plan, or some kind of defined contribution plan, such as a 401(k) plan, according to the EBRI and Greenwald & Associates survey. In 2013, 14 percent of that group was very confident about having enough money for a comfortable retirement, and two years later, that share doubled.
In contrast, among the 32 percent of Americans who reported not having a plan, just 12 percent in 2015 were very confident about having enough for a comfortable retirement, which the report said was statistically unchanged from 2013. (Tweet This) IRA accounts are widely available, but only slightly over half of all American workers work for employers or unions sponsoring a retirement plan.
There is also the matter of how much Americans have actually saved. A 2015 study by the National Institute for Retirement Security, using data from the Federal Reserve's 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances, found that across all American households, including those without retirement accounts, the median retirement account balance is $2,500, and for households near retirement, $14,500. Even including households' entire net worth in retirement readiness calculations, the study found that 66 percent of working families are below a conservative savings target for their age and income.
"The typical American household was further behind in retirement readiness in 2013 than in 2010 and 2007," the study said.
Jack VanDerhei, EBRI's research director, pointed to another reason why growing retirement confidence may not be all good news: The people who are feeling more confident may be making poor assumptions about the future.
"If you've got a plan," and thus are part of the group feeling more optimistic, "you're much more likely to have participated in the equity market's increase in 2014," he said. "Is it rational if you've had an increase in equities for a single year to think your retirement prospects have exponentially increased Obviously, I would say not, but people have a tendency to extrapolate."
The result of that thinking, VanDerhei said, can be false complacency.
"From a public policy standpoint, it's probably a better thing for confidence to go down, especially among individuals who really are not on track. If their confidence goes down, we've at least got a chance that they are going to change their behavior."
One way to promote more widespread retirement confidence is to improve access to retirement savings vehicles, said State Street's Axsater. He pointed to Britain as an example, since that country in 2012 established mandatory automatic enrollment in retirement plans.
"In the U.K., when you have greater access and people are participating in a plan, confidence goes up," he said.
A similar shift is possible in the United States, Axsater said, pointing to efforts by states to create state-based retirement plans for residents without access to workplace plans. Those plans, he said, could facilitate retirement saving for "millions of Americans, and that is something we are fully behind."

Is the annual pay raise dead?

刘伯温期期准选一肖

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Already have plans to spend that big end-of-year bonus on something special? You might want to stop dreaming. While you're at it, you might want to stop planning too.
A recent study proclaimed troubling news for workers: For the fifth year in a row, employee bonus pools will come in below target, according to benefits consulting firm Towers Watson. And 2015 bonuses will be funded even less than last year. That means companies have fallen short of their financial goals, so expect whatever end-of-year gift you were hoping for (planning for?) to be a disappointment.
A different compensation research firm, Aon Hewitt, disagrees with Towers' finding, and said bonus pools are basically right on target this year (102 percent of target, actually). Whew!
Don't plan to buy that new car just yet, however. Both companies agree on one thing: There will be no raises this year, or next, or ... maybe not for a long time.
"Base salary increases are flat. We don't see the prospect of that changing much at all in the next several years," said Ken Abosch, who studies compensation issues for Aon Hewitt.
In other words, the annual raise is dead. It was already on life support last decade, but the Great Recession has finished off the raise. It's been replaced by "variable compensation" — the bonus. (See the chart from Aon Hewitt below.)
"The quiet revolution has been the change in compensation mix," Abosch said. "Through a series of recessions, organizations have pulled back dramatically on fixed costs. And base salaries are often a company's most significant fixed cost ... [They] have a compounding effect, and create a drag on an organization's ability to change."
In a perfect world, variable compensation allows companies to align corporate and worker incentives, and it rewards high performers and hard workers. It also allows companies to pull back on employee costs during hard times without resorting to layoffs.
In reality, switching from raises to bonuses has mucked up a lot of things. For starters, it's hard to make long-term financial plans with such short-term financial commitments from your employer. It's nerve-wracking to take on a 30-year mortgage if your income is $100,000 this year but might be $80,000 next year.
Workers also complain that the relationship between performance and bonus is often indirect — determined by factors outside their control, such as turnover in other departments or the overall economy.
In a larger sense, when a substantial portion of a worker's compensation is unpredictable, one benefit of full-time work fades. The "bonus" employee ends up in the same boat as an independent contractor, not quite knowing what their income will be in the future. The Aon and Towers Watson disagreement about funding of bonus pools speaks to the high degree of uncertainty that variable compensation can bring.
Meanwhile, Sandra McLellan of Towers Watson said bonuses aren't working for many companies, either. There's tacit admission on all sides that some part of the bonus is a de facto part of base salary, so managers grant them to just about everyone. Ultimately, that means less money at the top to reward good workers. An effective bonus range pays 50 percent of target payout on the low end, and 150 percent for the high end. The Towers Watson survey shows the range this year is 67 to 115 percent.
"We are seeing managers trending towards the middle," McLellan said.
One way to look at those numbers: Companies "punish" poor performers at more than twice the rate they reward top performers. The worst get dinged 33 percent of their target bonus, while the best can only expect 15 percent above target.
McLellan sees it the other way around, however.
"This is saying managers are feeling the need to give something to everybody," she said. "In some cases, managers are feeling that the bonus is not related to performance but part of what people should be entitled to."
That humane-sounding approach throws a big monkey wrench into the big idea behind bonuses, which is part of the reason corporations are now complaining that they are having trouble holding on to their best employees.
While the economy is still growing in only fits and starts, and wages overall are barely rising, leverage has changed for top talent, McLellan said. The Towers Watson survey found that 40 percent of firms said turnover is rising, and 52 percent said they are having difficulty retaining "critical-skill" employees, compared to 41 percent last year.
"We are starting to see mobility in certain categories," Abosch said. "People with a specialized skill set, like engineers, financial auditors, analysts."
You'd think the solution to the problem of "talent mobility" would be relatively easy to solve — more pay.
"It's not that complicated, but it's hard to put into practice," McLellan said. Managers are not necessarily comfortable picking winners and losers on an annual basis. "And if your bonuses are not funding at 100 percent, it puts managers into more difficult discussions."
The news isn't all bad for workers. Aon Hewitt, which thinks bonus pools will be fully funded, said the percent of revenue companies will spend on compensation is at its highest level in 39 years. Certain kinds of workers — executives and salaried professionals — fare very well in the bonus-heavy environment. McLellan said the overall number of workers who are eligible for bonuses continues to grow, as companies lump more workers into the variable compensation model.
On the other hand, the variable compensation model is bad news for hourly and nonexempt workers, who won't get either bonuses or substantial raises again.
McLellan's advice to workers worried about their bonus is straightforward: Some workers have a lot more leverage in today's marketplace than others. For example, high-skill workers, such as computer programmers, can negotiate for better pay.
"If you are the employee reading this, you want to be that person," she said. "And, if you are the employer reading this, you want to make sure you know who those people are in your organization. Know what skill set keeps your business going."