The DC Income Challenge is Just Arriving

“From our perspective, the ultimate outcome in retirement is income,” says Jamie Ohl, president, Retirement Plan Services, Lincoln Financial Group. 

Data from the Lincoln Financial Group American Consumer Study shows that individuals increasingly understand they are going to be responsible for their own retirement security.

While awareness of retirement challenges is high, according to the study, still more than a third of Americans (36%) say they wish they were putting more money into their retirement savings plans. More than half are prioritizing paying off short-term debt over saving for retirement. This is especially prevalent among Millennials, the survey finds, only 56% of whom are contributing to a retirement savings plan.

Researchers call it troubling that only about half of Millennials are taking advantage of the power of compound interest in building a secure financial future. Like the older generations, many Millennials anticipate a significant portion of their retirement income to come from Social Security, despite persistent uncertainties about the program’s long-term fiscal future.

Beyond a building focus on retirement income and how it will be sourced, the study also shows that savers want access to both online tools and face-to-face discussions with advisers and financial educators. Among those surveyed, 68% suggest access to face-to-face discussions remains highly important, while 73% feel online tools are also important when they’re communicating with a company that offers retirement products.

“There is a lot of focus on technology today, and it is important,” Ohl said. “But as the results of the study showed, technology alone isn’t enough. It’s the combination of technology and personalized service that will truly drive positive outcomes.”

The research concludes that establishing a focus on retirement income early in one’s working life will be essential for a financially healthy retirement in a world without widespread access to pensions.

Alongside the survey data, Lincoln Financial Group published a participant-centric video series to teach the fundamentals of investing and to “encourage employees to take actions today that can help them meet their retirement goals tomorrow.”