In our latest research on employee financial issues, we saw some light at the end of the recession tunnel. Employees called our Financial Helpline more about retirement than they did any other topic, making up the most calls we’ve seen on retirement planning since 2008.

The trend is shifting. A focus back to long-term planning was also seen as calls about estate planning and investing issues increased, which could be a sign of sustainable recovery. Though we’re glad to see employees refocused on retirement planning, we’re still headed for a major retirement crisis if employees continue to save too little.

Too few employees are saving enough. Less than 18 percent of employees who completed a financial wellness assessment believed they were on track to replace at least 80 percent of their retirement income.

With some good strides toward recovery and a renewed long-term focus, it seems the trend we saw a year ago in employees focusing on immediate needs is turning around. Employees are still uneasy about the economic environment and are cautious about how quickly their finances can change, but their overall financial wellness continues to improve as they show more control over managing their finances this year versus last year.

Here were some key findings from our research:

  • Long-term planning calls skyrocketed to 61 percent of all calls this quarter from 37 percent a year ago.
  • Employees are showing more control over their debt volume. Debt related calls fell by 40 percent over the last year.
  • Employees are calling more about long-term planning issues than we’ve seen since 2008 and immediate issues are taking a back seat after the recession.

Hopefully the past recession will continue to influence employees’ decisions about their futures. If employees continue on the path to improving their personal finances, such as cash management and debt reduction, and carry those good habits into the economic recovery, they may be able to fund a secure retirement in the future.

For a copy of the full Q3 2010 research report click here.