As individuals look for more work
flexibility or employers turn to freelancers and consultants, the so-called “gig” economy is growing, and a lack of benefits for these
employees could mean a potential financial crisis when they are ready to
According to T. Rowe Price’s second
annual survey focused on workers participating in the gig economy, 56% of
independent workers are actively saving for retirement (excluding independent
workers who identify as already retired), significantly less than the
percentage of traditional employees that are doing so (72%). This may be due to
the fact that the majority of traditional workers use their employer-sponsored
retirement plan (68%) and likely have access to the automatic savings features
typically available in those plans, while independent workers are primarily
using IRAs (40%).
However, independent workers are just
as likely as traditional workers to feel they are financially prepared for
retirement (49% and 47%, respectively). In addition, just over half of both
independent and traditional workers envision working part time or independently
Despite the concerns that a lack of retirement benefits can cause,
independent workers say that working on their own has made them more involved
in their finances, which is especially true with Millennials. For the second
consecutive year, the majority of independent workers say they are much more or
somewhat more involved in their finances as a result of working independently
(75%), with Millennials more likely to say this (85%) compared to Gen Xers
(73%) and Baby Boomers (71%).
“Without the safety net of being able
to save for retirement through an employer-sponsored plan, independent workers
have to make active decisions about their retirement,” says Stuart Ritter,
senior financial planner at T. Rowe Price. “So, it’s encouraging to see that
many of them are making the effort to save and that this proactive financial
behavior extends beyond just saving for retirement.
T. Rowe Price sponsored the online
national survey, conducted by Beacon Research, from January 24, to February 16,
2019. The findings are based on a national sample of 2,010 adults ages 22 to
73. The survey report is here.
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