Tax-exempt Sector Workers Not Maximizing Plan Resources

New research from Fidelity Investments suggests employees of non-profit organizations are not taking full advantage of their workplace retirement plan resources.

Fidelity found that over half (57%) of tax-exempt sector workers surveyed interacted with their defined contribution (DC) plan provider in the past year, mostly to conduct a regular plan review with a representative (31%) or to reallocate funds (14%), according to a press release on the research results.

Workers were asked to classify themselves as “investors,” “savers,” or “spenders.’ One in 10 workers (9%) identified themselves as investors, while the majority classified themselves as savers (46%) or spenders (45%). Significantly more investors (77%) interacted with their DC plan provider compared to savers (58%) and spenders (51%), the release said.

Investors also seem to be more confident in their retirement readiness, with 79% saying they know how much they need to save annually to reach their retirement goal. Thirty-eight percent of spenders and 60% of savers said the same.

In addition, the research showed only a small number of spenders (14%) and savers (17%) are using lifecycle funds within their employer-sponsored plans, compared to 25% of investors.

Fidelity found nearly one-third (29%) of study respondents increased their contributions to their workplace savings plans in 2007. Four in 10 investors (42%) contributed more to their plan in 2007 than in 2006, as did 30% of savers and one-quarter of spenders.

In addition, the study showed a lack of confidence among tax-exempt sector workers in other benefits. Nearly half (49%) reported having retiree health benefits, but 73% are concerned this benefit will be reduced or discontinued in the future.

The study was conducted by Richard Day Research, an independent research firm, in November 2007 among 1,524 current employees with DC plan accounts across tax-exempt sectors, including higher education, health care, government, foundations, and faith-based organizations