Workers Give Minimal Attention to Retirement Accounts

December 5, 2006 ( - The majority of workers polled by AllianceBernstein admitted they are unprepared or reluctant to monitor and manage their retirement plan investments.

According to a press release on the survey, 61% of respondents said they are what AllianceBernstein calls “Accidental” investors, meaning they lack confidence in their ability to manage their investments, do not enjoy the process, and give minimum attention to their retirement plan accounts. Nearly half of all “Accidental” investors said they review their investments no more than once a year – or not at all (32%).

Most of the workers surveyed who do monitor their investments said the retirement plan statement is the primary source of information for them, the release said. Half of all “Accidental” investors also said they primarily rely on their retirement plan statement for monitoring their accounts.

Among all 401(k) eligible investors, the Internet is the second most important resource for monitoring retirement plan savings (33%). Mutual fund NAV’s in newspapers ranked last (3%) in helping participants determine the value of their retirement investments.

Dick Davies, Senior Managing Director, head of Institutional Defined Contribution Services at AllianceBernstein pointed out in the release provisions of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 that govern automatic enrollment, default investments, automatic contribution rate escalation, and the frequency and content of participant statements shows that, “[r]ather than fight employee inertia, the lesson learned over the past 25 years of the 401(k) experience is to harness it.”

Workers surveyed were age 18 or older and employed full time by companies offering a 401(k) plan.