Research

2015 Participant Survey

PLANSPONSOR checks in with workers on the path to retirement

Published in PLANSPONSOR April 2015

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Household Finances
All<30 yrs≥50 yrsHave DC PlanNo DC PlanConfidentNot Confident
Has household budget39%43%37%40%34%47%33%
Tracks spending32%42%27%35%22%39%26%
Balances statements monthly70%61%78%72%64%79%63%
Has retirement goal(s)55%46%64%62%28%79%31%
Saving for college15%13%10%16%10%21%10%
Uses a financial adviser23%12%37%26%12%35%13%
Retirement Savings
All<30 yrs≥50 yrsHave DC PlanNo DC PlanConfidentNot Confident
Deferral rate ≤6%60%72%45%60%NA*47%70%
Deferral rate >6%40%28%55%40%NA53%30%
Total savings <$50,00045%83%23%39%76%24%64%
Total savings ≥$50,00055%17%77%61%24%76%36%
Out of plan savings >$50,00033%11%51%37%16%52%17%
Out of plan savings = $035%43%23%29%59%22%48%
*NA = not applicable
Primary Source of Information Used When Evaluating Investments
All<30 yrs≥50 yrs<$50k IN SAVINGS≥$50k IN SAVINGSConfidentNot confident
Friends or relatives9%14%5%15%6%6%12%
Plan website18%19%17%20%17%16%22%
Printed enrollment materials9%12%10%11%8%7%8%
Financial adviser/planner16%13%19%13%18%18%13%
Personal invstmt experience16%10%18%12%17%17%15%
All other resources13%18%11%15%13%15%15%
Not applicable (defaulted)19%14%20%14%21%21%15%
Confidence in Achieving Retirement Goals by Age 65
All<30 yrs≥50 yrsHave DC PlanNo DC PlanEMPLOYER CONTRIBUTESNO EMPLOYER CONTRIBUTION
Very confident15%12%20%16%11%18%11%
Confident20%23%21%21%14%22%19%
Somewhat confident25%27%24%28%17%29%34%
Only a little confident17%19%16%16%21%15%18%
Not at all confident17%12%18%14%28%11%14%
Unsure6%7%1%5%9%5%4%
Importance of Employer’s Retirement Plan When Changing Jobs
All<30 yrs≥50 yrsHave DC PlanNo DC PlanConfidentNot confident
Very important18%15%20%18%17%25%14%
Important19%16%18%21%13%25%15%
Somewhat important22%29%20%23%16%20%23%
Neutral22%20%20%20%28%17%25%
Somewhat unimportant4%7%3%4%6%2%6%
Unimportant9%7%11%9%11%6%11%
Very unimportant6%6%8%5%9%5%6%
Rating of Employer’s Retirement Savings Plan
All<30 yrs≥50 yrsEmployer ContributesNo Employer ContributionConfidentNot confident
Excellent13%9%16%13%9%20%4%
Very good34%30%36%37%16%39%23%
Good35%33%32%35%40%31%42%
Fair14%21%13%12%24%8%24%
Poor2%3%2%1%10%1%4%
Unsure/Don’t know2%4%1%2%1%1%3%
Trust That Individual/Entity Will Make Decisions 100% Aligned With Participant Needs/Interests
Do Not trust at allTrust only a littleSomewhat TrustMostly TrustCompletely TrustUnsure/Not Applicable
HR director15%15%24%19%10%17%
CEO/Owner15%17%23%18%11%16%
CFO/Finance director14%16%25%18%10%17%
Financial advisers/planners8%14%32%27%7%12%
Retirement plan service providers8%19%32%24%5%12%
“Wall Street”36%26%19%5%2%12%
State politicians/government45%26%15%4%1%9%
Federal politicians/government47%24%14%4%1%10%
Participant Agreement With Each Proposed Concept
DisagreeSlightly DisagreeNeutralSlightly AgreeAgreeDon’t know/Unsure
Easy to get advice through plan10%8%27%16%33%6%
Prefer employer to pick investments46%15%19%9%8%3%
Pay premium for personalized advice29%15%26%14%12%4%
Pick current provider if given a choice8%6%28%14%38%6%
Hypothetical Trade-off Scenarios
Respondents were presented with two options for each of the following scenarios and selected their preference.
Option(A)Option(B)
Scenario #1
(A) One-time $5,000 contribution to your DC account50%-
(B) One-time $5,000 bonus-50%
Scenario #2
(A) Three years of no employer match in the 401(k)55%-
(B) Three-year freeze -45%
Scenario #3
(A) 6% employer match that becomes vested after five year52%-
(B) 3% employer match that is immediately vested-48%
Scenario #4
(A) Guaranteed 4% annual return on your savings 65%-
(B) Market-based return that might exceed 4% but also could lose money-35%
Scenario #5
(A) Lower monthly health insurance premiums52%-
(B) Higher employer match to your 401(k)-48%

Methodology

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The 2015 PLANSPONSOR Participant Survey was conducted in early March via a blind online questionnaire, using a broad sample of U.S. workers from ResearchNow, an online panel provider. A total of 1,077 full-time employed adults ages 23 and older responded to the 40-question survey, which covered a range of retirement savings habits and perceptions. Among respondents, 705 (65%) currently contribute to a 401(k), 403(b) or 457 defined contribution (DC) retirement plan, while 98 (11%) have access to a defined contribution plan but have elected not to join it; 217 respondents (20%) work at organizations with no defined contribution plan. The final data reflect a balance of demographic attributes, including gender, race/ethnicity, household income and formal education, similar to results from the 2014 survey. The sample was not weighted to reflect national averages. For more information, contact Brian O’Keefe at bokeefe@assetinternational.com.

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