Know Your Audience: Critical Stats About Health, Finances, Benefits, More

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As you put together your open enrollment content, you need to think about your audience — your employees.

How much exercise are they doing? Where do they get information? What’s important to them?

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To help you frame these conversations, here are some important statistics covering health, financial security, benefits and more that I used in my presentations for the EBN Benefits Forum and SHRM webinar.


Financial security

  • More than a third of people over the age of 25 aren’t saving for retirement right now (Harris Interactive, Number of Americans Reporting No Personal or Retirement Savings Rises).
  • Some 29 percent have less than $1,000 in savings, period (Employee Benefit Research Institute, Retirement Confidence Survey, 2011).
  • By a conservative estimate, financial stress alone costs U.S. businesses $70 billion a year (Personal Finance Employee Education Foundation, Inc., 2007)
  • A whopping 94 percent of Americans wish they did a better job of managing their money, and 89 percent of respondents in other parts of the world shared that sentiment, according to the ING Retirement Research Institute (Americans Wish They Were Smarter about Money, 2011).
  • Startlingly, only 53 percent of Americans are currently saving for retirement, even though 97 percent realize that the earlier one starts saving for retirement, the better off one will be. Twenty-nine (29) percent said they didn’t know where to start, 23 percent said they were procrastinating, and 18 (percent) said they needed help but didn’t know where to get it (Americans Wish They Were Smarter about Money, 2011).
  • ING found that the more financially literate someone is, the happier and more confident they are (Americans Wish They Were Smarter about Money, 2011).


  • Some 79 percent of workers said their benefits are one of the reasons they work where they do (2011 Mercer Workplace Survey).
  • Seventy-six percent of workers said their benefits make them feel appreciated by their company (2011 Mercer Workplace Survey).
  • Some 91 percent said getting health benefits through work is just as important as getting a salary (2011 Mercer Workplace Survey).

Web access

  • Seventy-eight percent of adults use the Internet, and 66 percent of adults have a broadband Internet connection at home. Latino and white Americans are equally likely to be online, and the number of black Americans online increased by 22 percent from 2009 to 2010 (Pew Research Center‚ Internet & American Life Project, Health Topics, 2011).
  • An incredible 73 million Americans use smart phones (Pew Research Center‚ Internet & American Life Project, Health Topics, 2011).
  • Seventy-five to 80 percent of Gen Y (Millennials) and Gen Xers want their benefits on the Internet. And nearly 70 percent of younger boomers say the same (MetLife 9th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends),

Jennifer Benz is Chief Strategist and Founder of Benz Communications, a San Francisco-based consultancy that focuses on custom, comprehensive benefits and HR communications services. Jen is an active member of the Council for Communication Management, the International Association of Business Communicators, the Northern California Human Resources Association and Women in Consulting. Contact her at


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