More than Half Surveyed Do not Contribute to Employer Retirement Plan

October 18, 2011 ( - A recent survey of Americans age 18 and older (not yet retired) revealed that many Americans who have access to an employer-sponsored defined contribution plan do not take full advantage of the tax-deferred savings.

The eNation survey, conducted on behalf of LIMRA in October 2011, found that while 55% of surveyed adults do not contribute at all to an employer-sponsored plan, of those that do, 48% contribute less than 5% of their annual earnings.  Overall, more than 20% fewer women contribute to their employer-sponsored retirement plan than men (39% vs. 50%). In addition, the survey found that women are more likely than men to contribute less than 3% of their earnings (19% vs. 13%, respectively).  

The good news is, according to a press release, despite the poor economy, only 12% of plan participants have decreased their contribution rate over the past year. Twenty-four percent increased their saving rate, and 64% kept their contribution rate constant.  

The survey also found 40% of respondents said they currently save no money each month toward retirement. Nineteen percent of adults not yet retired typically save less than $100 a month, while more than a quarter (27%) of consumers save $100 to $499 a month. Even those with household incomes of $50,000 or more, a sizeable proportion (42%) are either saving $100 or less, or nothing, each month.  

Looking at pre-retirees, the results were not much better. Forty-one percent of pre-retirees are not putting aside any money for retirement, and a little more than one-fifth (21%) of pre-retirees save less than $100 a month.