Going forward in a rocky market, 401(k) investors say they are staying the course and won't change their retirement plan. "Workers want to keep the basic strengths of 401(k)s - tax-favored savings, individual choice in investing, and personal control of these retirement assets," says Paul Schott Stevens, president and CEO of the Investment Company Institute. ICI found that throughout 2008:
- Only 3 percent of plan participants stopped contributing to their retirement plan;
- Only 3.7 percent of participants took any withdrawals from their accounts; and
- Fifteen percent of participants had loans outstanding
Further ICI research indicates Americans favor current features of 401(k)s and many believe strengthening Social Security is a higher priority than replacing 401(k) plans with a government-run retirement system. Participants in 401(k) and similar plans say the plan features help them save and invest; nine out of 10 agree that their plan helps them think about the long-term, not just current needs and that payroll deduction makes it easier to save. According to 81 percent of respondents, "the immediate tax savings from my retirement plan are a big incentive to contribute."