Boomers value tech for managing retirement savings

Source: Willis Towers Watson

When it comes to managing their finances and health, millennials place a much higher value on the use of technology compared with baby boomers.

Surprisingly, those generations place an equal value on the importance of apps and tools to manage retirement savings, according to research by Willis Towers Watson (WLTW), a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company.

The Global Benefits Attitudes Survey of nearly 5,100 U.S. employees found that two-thirds of millennials and baby boomers (66%) agree that mobile apps and tools are either important or very important to manage and track the value of their retirement savings. Six in 10 millennials (59%) also place a high value on tools to help monitor when they will be able to retire and how much income they can expect in retirement. Roughly the same percentage of boomers (54%) feel the same way.

“There is a misconception that boomers don’t have much need or use for technology, especially when it comes to preparing for retirement and managing their finances once their working days are over,” said Steve Nyce, senior economist at Willis Towers Watson. “In reality, all generations of employees feel vulnerable about their long-term financial security and ability to retire comfortably, and recognize that technology can help them engage in and make important decisions about their health and personal finances.”

Millennials, however, place much higher importance on technology to manage their personal finances, and health and well-being. More than seven in 10 millennials (71%) value mobile apps to monitor bank accounts and pay bills compared with just 44% of boomers. More than half of millennials (57%) rate online price comparison sites to shop for the best deals as important or very important versus 42% of boomers. Additionally, the number of millennials who value budgeting tools to help monitor household spending far outstrips boomers (41% versus 18%), as well as those who place importance on financial advice websites (25% versus 14%).

In terms of tracking their own health, a third of millennials (33%) rate wearable devices as important or very important compared to less than a quarter of boomers (24%). More than one-third of millennials (35%) also view apps to track diets as important or very important versus just 16% of boomers. And while 27% of millennials value apps to monitor sleep habits, only 14% of boomers believe those apps are valuable.

"Employers are in a unique position to assist employees in making life-impacting decisions about personal finances, retirement savings and health — and to bring high-value technology and services that meet workforce needs. Given the explosion in apps and personal technology, employers can support employees with higher-quality services that offer personalized convenience, faster decision making, lower costs and healthier lifestyles," said Shane Bartling, senior consultant at Willis Towers Watson.

Among other survey findings:

  • Nearly four in 10 (38%) millennials are considered high or medium users of technology for health and well-being compared with just 16% of boomers.
  • Almost six in 10 millennials (57%) have some sort of financial worries versus 43% of boomers.
  • 16% of millennials admit that money concerns keep them from doing their best work, double the percentage of boomers who feel that way.

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