2017
Participant Survey

Industry Trends

RESPONDENTS

Gender

Age

Total Retirement Savings

Household Income

Employer Size

Highest Educational Achievement

OVERALL

Household Finances

48%
57%
33%
39%
Has family budget
Has emergency fund
Is paying off student loan(s)
Uses a financial adviser

Actions Taken in Prior 12 Months

41%
16%
13%
13%
Increased deferral rate
Changed asset–allocation strategy
Rebalanced account
Calculated retirement income

Expected Retirement Age

30%
45%
25%
65 or earlier
65 – 70
70 and after

Deferral Rate

35%
40%
22%
<6%
6% – 10%
>10%

Participants With >10% Deferral Rate, by Age

17%
21%
30%
<30 years old
30 – 50 years old
>50 years old

Participants Who Use a Financial Adviser, By Retirement Savings

15%
48%
60%
<$50k retirement savings
$50k – $250k retirement savings
>$250k retirement savings

Likelihood That Employees Not Covered by a DC Plan Would
Participate in One if It Were Available

75%
18%
7%
Likely to participate
Unlikely to participate
Unsure

Households with Total Retirement Savings <$50,000,
by Household Income

78%
31%
11%
<$50k household income
$50k – $100k household income
>$100k household income

Participants Deferring >6% of Salary, Total Household Income

28%
48%
70%
<$50k household income
$50k – $100k household income
>$100k household income

How Would You Prefer to Receive Information
on Financial Wellness?

16%
15%
21%
21%
27%
Read a short brochure with 3 – 5 actionable steps
Attend a 90–minute group seminar
Read newsletter via email
Browse an interactive, online library
Meet with an adviser for 30 minutes

Participant Trade-offs: What tips the scale in hard benefits decisions?

Present value. Historically, respondents have been somewhat neutral when asked to choose between a one-time $5,000 bonus and a one-time $5,000 contribution to their 401(k), but this year 57% preferred the bonus—up from 47% in 2016. The preference was strongest, near 70%, among younger participants—those 23 through 39 years old. Among 40- through 59-year-olds, the response was more mixed—approximately 50%—dropping to 32% for those 60 or older.

Immediate gratification. Respondents showed an equally strong preference for immediate payouts vs. deferred annuities, with 61% preferring a one-time, immediate $10,000 contribution to their 401(k) over a guaranteed $200 a month payment for life starting at age 65. While actuarial forecasts would assign much greater value to the annuity as people approach 65, all age groups—including participants over 60—preferred the immediate contribution.

Size Matters. Investment advice comes in many forms, ranging from online tools that offer personalized advice via home computer to in-person meetings with a financial adviser. When asked whether they would rather get advice online or in-person for a fictional $10,000 account, 52% of respondents selected online advice. But that number dropped to 39% for a fictional $100,000 account. Household income and retirement savings also play a role, as those with under $25,000 in household income or retirement savings were almost twice as apt to choose help from a live adviser for their fictional $10,000 or $100,000 account. —BOK