28 May Survey: Diverse structures point to a more tailored approach in family benefits packages
Originally posted May 22, 2014 by Nick Otto on http://ebn.benefitnews.com.
Even against the backdrop of a stronger economy, modern families are still feeling the pinch of financial security, pointing toward the need to tailor products to the needs of specific family structures that are considerably different than the traditional nuclear family.
As a result, the increased diversity will require more comprehensive offerings on the part of benefits managers hoping to provide the best to an increasingly diverse workplace.
Traditional families — or those married to someone of the opposite gender with at least one child younger than 21 — were found to have fewer struggles with financial security than their modern blended, multi-generational or same-sex counterparts. Nearly 36% of modern families were reported to have collected unemployment versus 21% of traditional families, according to a recent report from Allianz.
The LoveFamilyMoney Study analyzed the financial security of a more diverse household landscape. According to the report, only 19.6% of today’s households constitute a “traditional” family, a drop from 40.3% in 1970.
The study included:
▪ Multi-Generational Families — Three or more generations living in the same household.
▪ Single Parent Families — One unmarried adult with at least one child younger than 18.
▪ Same-Sex Couple Families — Married or unmarried couples living together with a member of the same gender.
▪ Blended Families — Parents who are married or living together with a stepchild and/or child from a previous relationship.
▪ Older Parent with Young Children Families — Parents age 40+ with at least one child younger than 5 in the household.
▪ Boomerang Families — Parents with an adult child (21-35) who left and later returned to rejoin the family.
Each structure brings different dynamics to the inner workings of the family, Allianz says. For example, while traditional families provide hierarchy, collaboration and structure; boomerang families, while closely traditional, view their adult children more as friends.
Additionally, the study notes, only 30% of modern families feel financial secure, unlike 41% of traditional families. For example, twice as many modern families say they have declared bankruptcy — 22% compared with 11% of traditional families.
“New family structures have a direct impact on a family’s relationship with money and finances—and we found that, while modern families have similar strong emotional ties, they often feel financially less secure than their traditional counterparts,” said Katie Libbe, Allianz Life vice president of Consumer Insights.
“While family structure plays a prominent role, our study of these different modern family cohorts uncovered a number of unique insights into each group’s attitudes, perceptions and beliefs around money and financial planning,” she adds.
Although most employees understand the need for medical and dental insurance, the value of voluntary benefits is less understood and can open doors to the modern family structures seen in today’s society. Voluntary products are changing the employee benefits game and can help employers meet objectives while providing more choices for employees.