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Is your workforce retirement-ready?

Here’s a question for all the human-resource professionals out there: To what extent do you feel responsible to prepare your employees for retirement?

Let’s face it: Everyone is eventually going to have a last day at work. Right now that day looks scary for many Americans, from millennials to baby boomers.

The main driver of retirement readiness now emanates from companies that offer retirement plans through payroll deduction. Ask yourself: Does your company provide incentives to participate? Does your plan offer low-cost investment choices, target-date mutual funds, automatic enrollment, automatic escalation and an employer match? Does your company pay competitive wages and salaries that allow for discretionary savings?

Barbara Roper, director of investor protection for the Consumer Federation of America, was recently interviewed by Employee Benefit News. Roper, a chartered financial analyst, believes it is unrealistic to expect employees to make good decisions about investments. Training and education are essential since the demise of defined-benefit plans — employer-funded plans managed by professionals.

A new program, America Saves, encourages people of modest incomes to save and accumulate. Barbara goes on to say that workers who earn between $20,000 and $100,000 a year save twice as much if they follow a plan.

The four steps for success include plan enrollment, goal setting, strategy development and actual wage deferrals.

When employers offer a plan, employees must have the discipline to save for their own retirements — even if only a minimal amount. The ultimate key to success is careful planning. Research shows that workers who embrace planning save more, make better choices and enjoy better returns.

Workers must avoid the common mistakes made during volatile markets, often in response to inevitable hiccups.

A worker has a finite number of paychecks. Teamwork and awareness will make each one count toward a secure, comfortable retirement.

Mark Daly is managing director, investment officer, Daly & Vachek Investment Consulting Group of Wells Fargo Advisors. dvicg.com; 333-1433. This column appears in the Sept. 21-Oct. 18, 2016, edition of the Idaho Statesman’s Business Insider magazine as part of a special section on human resources and workforce development. Click here for the e-edition (subscription required).

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