Ready? Set? Go!

All things considered, companies would prefer to wave good-bye to their most veteran workers. While that sounds harsh, it’s a workplace reality that should be dealt with head-on.

That’s a human resources issue, of course. But for most CFOs, employees’ retirement readiness is not a top-drawer concern. Such nonchalance is aligned with today’s typical the-future-is-now corporate mindset. When you’re trying to win new customers, create new products, get established in new markets, and hit your numbers, something that’s years or decades off in the future for most employees doesn’t really ring your bell.

At the same time, the hit to the bottom line when people can’t afford to retire is plain to see, especially because of new and improved analytical tools that help quantify the damage.

Not only do older workers tend to consume more health care and miss work more often than their younger colleagues, they usually make a lot more money than the people who would replace them upon their retirement. And if the would-be replacements are blocked from ascension, they’re more likely to look elsewhere for that upward mobility, creating costs that are more resistant to measurement.

Retirement unreadiness is, of course, more than a corporate problem. It’s a societal problem too. Sooner or later most people do stop working full time, ready or not, whereupon the public will pick up more of the health-care tab for those with insufficient savings.

So, for both micro and macro reasons, it’s time for employers to step up their efforts to prepare workers for retirement. The articles in this package offer plenty of thoughts for doing so. CFOs are well advised to listen and act.

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