Survey: 401(k) Ranks as the Most Common Retirement Planning Method

February 20, 2007 ( - More than one in five adults has not taken any steps toward planning for their retirement and only 10% have worked with an adviser on retirement planning, according to the Wall Street Journal/Harris Interactive survey.

The survey of more than 4,000 adults found that the most common step taken to prepare for retirement (29%) is contributing to a 401(k), followed by 21% who have opened a separate retirement savings account or a Roth IRA (21%) and investing in taxable stocks, bonds, mutual funds or annuities (20%).

The survey found that the median age for beginning retirement planning is 33.3 years old and thatthose 45 to 54 are the most active in preparing for retirement, the most likely to work with an adviser (15%) and plan the type of work they will do after retirement (18%).

The median age at which 18- to 34-year-olds begin planning is 23.6; for 35- to 44-year-olds it jumps to 29.1; for ages 45-54 it is 35.6; and for those ages 55 and older, the median is 42.8, according to the survey.

Those with a high school education or lower are least likely to plan for retirement than those with a college degree, with 35% of respondents with this education level having begun planning for retirement compared to three-quarters of those with a college degree. Sixteen percent of those with a high school education or less say they do not intend to retire, compared to 10% of the general population.