Total Retirement Savings
FACTORS INFLUENCING PARTICIPANTS’ ACTIONS
Actions taken in previous 12 months
Primary determinant of current deferral rate
How participants prefer to receive financial wellness information
Most common reasons for not participating in plan
HYPOTHETICAL TRADE-OFF SCENARIOS
Respondents were presented with two options for each of the following scenarios and selected their preference
After five years and more than 5,000 responses, our Participant Survey proves that employees are largely consistent in how they value employer benefits. Below are some highlights.
Rising premiums. Respondents report that health insurance and retirement plans are the two most valuable employer benefits, but do these individuals have a preference for how employers allocate benefits dollars between the two? Historically, the answer has been no—respondents have been evenly split on whether they would prefer a $250 decrease in monthly insurance premiums to a $250 increase in monthly employer 401(k) contributions. But the percentage preferring insurance subsidies has been rising and now stands at 54%, compared with 48% in 2016.
Stable values. Investorsremain a cautious bunch and seem comfortable trading higher returns for lower risk and lower fees. Over the past five years, a strong majority—more than 60%—of respondents have consistently chosen low, fixed guaranteed returns (i.e., 3%) on their savings over “market-based returns that might greatly exceed the guaranteed return but could also lose money.” Respondents also dislike fees, with 51% this year willing to accept returns that are below average if the trade-off is paying lower fees.
“In”-vesting. Low unemployment rates may be contributing to a change in perspective on employer contributions and vesting schedules. In 2014, only 51% of respondents chose a 6% match with a five-year vesting schedule over a 3% match with immediate vesting, but this number has increased each of the past five years and now accounts for nearly two-thirds (64%) of employees. —Brian O’Keefe