401(k) Participants Seek Retirement Readiness Help

Participants in 401(k) plans prefer more proactive steps to increase their retirement readiness rather than historical transactions on their account statements, a study found.

Additionally, participants would like more analysis, solutions and a better understanding of the tools and guidance the plan provider has to help them optimize the use of their retirement plan.

Nearly half of participants feel they are behind schedule on saving for retirement and three in five wish their employer did more to educate them about their retirement plan, according to the Fourth Annual 2012 DC Participant Experience Study by KK & Company and Greenwald & Associates.

Four in five trust the recommendations of their plan provider, and the same number reported being very interested in learning more about retirement planning from their plan.

Many participants have false confidence in the effectiveness of their efforts to save for retirement, the study revealed. Of the 54% of respondents who believe their savings for retirement are on schedule or ahead of schedule, half are older than age 35 and have less than $240,000 saved in their defined contribution account (26% have less than $100,000 saved).



The study also found that most participants are extremely or very interested in having their statements include projections of how much they need and will have in their retirement plan at retirement age if they continued their contributions. Three approaches to projections were tested in the survey; the one that is most preferred is a projection based on a continuation of contribution rates. 

“[The American worker is] looking for more insights on how to prepare and manage for retirement rather than understanding the rules and mechanics of their 401(k) plan,” said Mathew Greenwald of Greenwald & Associates.

Information for the study was gathered through 17-minute interviews with 1,018 plan participants, using the Research Now online panel, from August 15 to August 22.