Media Coverage

Inflation, market volatility are hurting retirement optimism. What can HR do?

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Recent economic volatility is causing a myriad of issues, from high prices at the gas pump to recession fears. And how employees feel about their long-term savings is no exception: Employees are losing confidence checking their 401(k) balances in a tumbling market, while rising inflation is changing their financial priorities, leading some employees to decrease their retirement contributions.

Timothy Flacke, executive director and co-founder at Commonwealth, a Boston-based financial nonprofit, says it’s not just the retirement situation, but financial uncertainty as a whole that needs to be addressed by employers.

“It’s been our experience that most workers—most people—get that contributing to their retirement plan is prudent,” he says. “The issue is not intent or understanding; it’s all the competing pressures.” The pandemic, for instance, has dampened financial security with lost jobs, reduced hours, health scares (and associated costs) and other uncertainties.