More DC Plan Participants Want Retirement Planning and Financial Help

Participants said they would welcome assistance through their employers with figuring out how to catch up to their retirement savings goals and managing their expenses.

More than ever before, it seems, American workers are looking for and are receptive to receiving retirement planning advice. Across the board, the 2021 numbers are up from last year, suggesting that the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic might have shifted people’s views on advice. 

According to Charles Schwab’s “2021 401(k) Participant Study,” more than six in 10 participants (61%) believe their financial situation warrants professional advice, an increase compared with 2020 (50%). Forty-four percent want help calculating how much to save for retirement. And 39% want specific advice on how to invest in their 401(k)s.

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Furthermore, 35% want help figuring out an income stream at retirement, and 33% want help determining the best age to retire. Twenty-two percent, each, want help with figuring out how to catch up to their retirement savings goals and managing their expenses so that they can save more for retirement. 

Forty percent said they are confident in making financial decisions on their own—but 56% want professional help. 

Likewise, participants surveyed for J.P. Morgan’s sixth biennial “Defined Contribution (DC) Plan Participant Survey” report needing direction. More than half (51%) say they are willing to spend time planning for retirement but don’t know where to start. Sixty-two percent wish they could completely hand over retirement planning to an expert.

Three-quarters of participants report they want help with contribution advice and 53% want help with selecting investments. Eighty-five percent indicate they want help with post-retirement income.

In addition to retirement planning, two-thirds of respondents to the J.P. Morgan survey say they think employers should provide access to financial professional help. Seventy-nine percent say they would meet with a financial coach available through their employer.

The Schwab 401(k) Participant study was conducted for Schwab Retirement Plan Services Inc. by Logica Research from April 1 through April 15, among 1,000 401(k) plan participants.

The J.P. Morgan study was fielded in January by Greenwald Research among 1,281 DC plan participants. More findings can be found here.