Employees Want Retirement Income Certainty

Ninety-four percent said they would keep all or at least some of their money in a target-date fund that guaranteed an income stream for life, an AllianceBernstein survey found.

Forty-seven percent of U.S. workers are confident about their retirement prospects, up from 32% last year, an AllianceBernstein survey found. This level of confidence is at a 10-year high, the investment management firm says. In addition, 67% of workers reported feeling confident about making investment decisions, up from 53% in 2017.

Workers’ top retirement goal is a steady income, cited by 56%. Forty-six percent said they will prioritize their retirement plan savings to live comfortably.

Forty-nine percent said they would like retirement income certainty, and 94% said they would keep all or at least some of their money in a target-date fund (TDF) that guaranteed an income stream for life.

“Plan participants want longer-lasting savings, and a steady income stream in retirement,” says Jennifer DeLong, head of defined contribution at AllianceBernstein. “Unfortunately, not enough U.S. workers know how to save wisely, early and continuously. While many defined contribution [DC] plans have adopted automatic enrollment in conjunction with a qualified default investment alternative [QDIA], fewer include automatic escalation of savings rates starting at high enough levels. Additionally, more plans should consider offering a lifetime income solution. We believe these are key factors that could significantly improve plan participants’ retirement outcomes.”

The survey also found that 20% of workers either plan to work part-time in retirement or delay their retirement, and 17% either said they have not thought about retirement or never plan to retire. More than 90% are concerned about Medicare and Social Security, and 66% said these programs are very important.

More than 70% of retirees said their lifestyle is in line with or better than their expectations. Sixty-four percent of retirees said their standard of living has stayed the same or improved. Seventy-five percent are satisfied with their financial status, and 50% said that after paying their bills each month, they have money left over for leisure activities. Twenty-three percent of retirees said they are very comfortable. However, 33% said they are dissatisfied with their life or finances in retirement.

Ninety percent of plan participants think the investments offered in their retirement plan should align with their core ethical values. Seventy-one percent said that if they were offered socially responsible investment choices, they would select them. Fifty percent said they volunteer in their communities, and 80% donate money to charities.

Should a significant market downturn occur, 47% said they would monitor the situation but take no immediate action. However, 24% said they would move their money to different investments, and 47% said they would become more conservative investors.