Put It on Paper

November 19, 2012 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Three in four adults said they prefer to receive retirement plan information on paper versus electronically.

Only 23% said they want to receive this information via email, with a link to a website, a survey by AARP found.

Interestingly, the preference for paper was overwhelming for all age groups, even those who use the Internet daily, according to the survey of 1,028 adults age 25 and older, conducted by Social Science Research Solutions. However, those 50 and older are more likely to prefer paper (84%) than those younger than 50 (66%).

Of those who have email addresses, 70% said they would be likelier to read their retirement plan documents if they received them on paper, and another 73% said they would be likelier to save hard-copy reports.

Currently, just 7% of respondents receive retirement plan documents electronically only. The majority (62%) receives the information by paper only; just over one-quarter (27%) get the information both online and in hard copy.

AARP said it conducted the survey, between October 12 and 21, in response to pending legislation, including House of Representatives bill HR 4050, that would permit plan sponsors to make electronic delivery of retirement plan documents the default.

“AARP has long had concerns about this approach, and our new survey indicates that the public shares those views,” said Cristina Martin Firvida, director of financial security issues in government affairs at the AARP. “Retirement plan participants of all ages overwhelmingly prefer a policy that requires retirement documents to be delivered in paper form, with an option to choose electronic delivery—rather than the other way around.”

Lee Barney