401 (k)s More Confusing Than Health Insurance: Charles Schwab

Workers saving more, but need help planning

Workers are taking responsibility for their retirement, but many need help getting there, a survey released Aug. 15 by Charles Schwab found. Almost 90% of respondents said they were counting on their own savings to support themselves in retirement, and more than 60% say that income will be largely or entirely from a 401(k) plan.

Unfortunately, more than half say their 401(k) plans are more confusing than their health care benefits, and 46% don’t know what their best options are. Over a third reported being very stressed about the right allocation in their plan.

While workers clearly need help with specific planning issues, the survey found they’ve adopted positive savings behaviors overall. Fifty-five percent have increased their savings rate in the last two years, and 70% said their 401(k) is in better shape than it ever has been.  

“It’s gratifying to see so many people taking the reins of their retirement,” Steve Anderson, head of Schwab Retirement Plan Services, said in a statement. “In our view, contributing to a 401(k) plan should be the No. 1 savings priority for workers. Planning ahead, taking action and getting the help you need along the way are key steps to help build sufficient retirement savings.”

Over 60% of respondents said they wanted personalized advice on their 401(k) plan. Almost a third of respondents said they were confident about the decisions they were making, but that percentage doubled among people who were working with an advisor.

“Getting more workers engaged in professional 401(k) advice should be a top priority for employers. We’ve seen the positive impact it can have on both behaviors and outcomes,” said Anderson.

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