Employees say workplace retirement plan will be a major retirement income source

Workers are less confident about the role Social Security will play in their retirement, EBRI survey shows

Apr 24, 2018 @ 10:40 am

By Robert Steyer

An increasing percentage of workers say their workplace retirement savings plan will be a major source of retirement income, according to an annual survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute issued Tuesday.

In 2018, 53% of workers said these plans will be the major source of retirement, up from 47% in 2017, according to a report about the survey results. Between 2009 and 2017, the percentage hovered between 42% and 47%.

By contrast, workers are much less confident about the role Social Security will play in their retirement than are current retirees, the report said. Only 36% of workers said they expected Social Security to be a major source of income, while 67% of retirees said Social Security is the major source of income.

(More: Guaranteed income tops boomers' retirement wish list)

The survey also found that workers participating in a defined contribution plan were more confident about retirement than workers lacking a retirement plan. Seventy-six percent said they were at least somewhat confident in their ability to live comfortably in retirement versus 46% of those without a DC plan.

"Satisfaction with DC plans is very important because that will encourage their use in building up assets in retirement," Craig Copeland, EBRI senior research associate and co-author of the report,said in a news release.

"However, the data suggest that many plan participants don't know what to do with their plan assets in retirement," he added. For example, 31% said they don't know whether they would put the money into a rollover IRA, keep the money in the plan or cash out.

The annual survey was conducted by EBRI and Greenwald & Associates, a market research firm. The online survey was conducted in early January with 1,002 workers and 1,040 retirees.

(More: Plan advisers, consultants question value of managed accounts)

Robert Steyer is a reporter for InvestmentNews' sister publication Pensions&Investments.

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