I have friends who work part-time for different reasons (realizing that the definition of "part-time" may vary from one employer to another). During a recent conversation with one of my friends (I'll use the name "Becky"), we discussed the topic about having enough retirement savings to retire at our "normal retirement date," and even better, being able to retire comfortably. I was sorry to learn that Becky's employer's 401(k) plan didn't cover her – and was even more sorry to hear that retiring didn't seem to be much of an option for her! 

A few days later I was talking with another friend (who I also knew worked part-time and who I will call "Joe"), and out of curiosity, asked how he felt about his retirement readiness. Joe had the same story as Becky; Joe is not covered under his employer's 401(k) plan, and he has little confidence that he can retire – and certainly not retire comfortably, unless something changes soon. 

Unfortunately, the experience and retirement "unreadiness" of Becky and Joe seems far too common.  According to an annual survey1 (see the 13th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey) conducted by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, a nonprofit, private foundation whose mission includes illuminating emerging trends, promoting awareness, and helping educate the public about retirement, 82 percent of for-profit employers with 10 or more employees offer a 401(k) or similar plan; however, only 57 percent of  part-time workers said that they have access to a such plan.  For all workers (including part-time workers), the survey found that:

  • current levels of savings are inadequate for many workers to meet their future retirement income needs;
  • 56 percent of workers expect to work past age 65 or do not plan to retire, including 43 percent who plan to work past age 70 or do not plan to retire; and
  • 54 percent of workers plan to continue working after they retire.

As a result of these findings, I'm writing this to encourage employers, advisors, and others in the retirement industry to expand retirement plan coverage, such as the ability to participate in a 401(k) plan, to part-time employees, so that more U.S. workers can be better financially prepared at retirement.

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