The results of a US nationwide survey indicates a growing appetite for learning about retirees and other financial topics through social media outlets – but the way information is consumed varies by age, gender and income level.
According to the data, “women are from Facebook, men are from LinkedIn” with 74% of women routinely using Facebook vs. 59% of men. The opposite holds true of LinkedIn where about twice as many participant users are men — 32% vs. 15% of women. The gender difference is more pronounced in this most recent study compared to 2011. Twitter also has more male participant users at 17% compared to 10% women.
Significantly, participants who are actively contributing to their plan are more likely to use social media than those who are not contributing, indicating higher engagement overall. Likewise, participants who also save outside of their workplace plan are even more likely to use social media including Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook in that order. LinkedIn is used by 36% of participants with household income (HHI) exceeding $100k, but only by 15% of participants with HHI of $50k or less.
71% of retirement plan participants “routinely” use one or more social media sites. However, the percentage of participants that have used social media for information or advice about their workplace plan has grown from 5% to 6% since 2011. While the number overall is small, it equates to approximately 5 million participants who have used social media for this purpose, indicating that it is used to supplement rather than replace the participant’s primary retirement plan website. Participants in their 30s are far more likely (14%) to use social media for retirement information or advice than older or younger participants, and this number has increased from just 6% in 2011, a significant jump. This may represent an important window of opportunity to reach these participants at a critical time in their retirement savings lifecycle, Among participants age 50+, 57% use Facebook
Overall, “saving enough for retirement” has surpassed “keeping up with monthly expenses” as the biggest financial worry, up significantly to 24% from 18% in 2011. It was also cited as a major savings objective by 63% of participants, 21 points higher than the second most-cited worry of “paying down debt. On a positive note, participants in general are saving more, with the average retirement savings rate among those surveyed at 10.5%, up from 9% two years ago, showing an increased commitment to this goal.
Social media usage has increased across the board since 2011 with the biggest increase in LinkedIn usage by participants at 24%, representing a 50% increase, Facebook has broad appeal across all age groups but there is an opportunity for providers to target messaging by gender, age and income. LinkedIn on the other hand, is the dominant media for business purposes and appeals to all age groups.
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