Workers Still Committed to Workplace Retirement Plans

October 19, 2009 ( - A survey conducted by the ING Institute for Retirement Research found that, despite the uncertain market conditions and negative headlines during the past year, most Americans who participate in employer-sponsored defined contribution plans value these plans greatly and have continued to support them.

According to a press release, 84% of survey respondents stated that their employer’s plan was a “very important” part of their retirement strategy. Nearly all respondents (92%) stated that the best way to save was by having their investments automatically deducted from their paycheck.

The survey findings further demonstrated that employees did not radically change their behavior or abandon workplace plans in response to the market downturn. The press release said that since the fall of 2008, more people (nearly 40%) reported joining an employer’s plan or increasing their contributions than decreasing or stopping contributions (less than 30%).

While more than one-third of participants (37%) changed to a more conservative asset allocation, nearly one fifth (19%) saw an opportunity to become more aggressive in their investment strategy. In addition, very few reported either taking money out through a hardship withdrawal (6%) or a loan (5%).

“This survey underscores one simple fact: the economy and the critics have not discouraged those who are regularly participating in a defined contribution plan,” said Catherine Smith, CEO of ING U.S. Retirement Services, in the press release. “The average American preparing for retirement recognizes the important role their employer-sponsored plan plays in achieving their savings goals, and they value the conveniences and options these plans afford.”

The Institute polled more than 1,000 men and women of all ages participating in defined contribution plans managed by ING’s U.S. Retirement Services operations. For a complete overview of the survey, or to view other material produced by the Institute, go here.