More Americans say they are focusing on saving for retirement, thanks to the impact of the Great Recession on many people’s finances, according to research by the Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (NYSE: HIG).
The Hartford found 76% percent of respondents said they “completely” or “mostly” understood their retirement plans’ benefits in 2010, up from 65% in 2009.
Women’s understanding of retirement benefits increased sharply, although fewer of them still understood these benefits than did men. Among women, 69% said they completely or mostly understood their benefits in 2010, compared to 56% last year. Men’s understanding rose to 83% from 75% a year ago.
Among all survey participants, 43% said they now view their retirement plan as more important than they did before the economic crisis, and 49% said they view it as just as important as before the recession.
The Hartford also found consumers more likely to participate in an employer-sponsored retirement plan today. Among those whose employer offered a 401(k) or other defined contribution plan, 84% were in the plan, up from 80% in 2009. Again, women showed the biggest jump, with 70% participating in their plan in 2010 compared to 61% in 2009. Men’s participation rate jumped to 71%, up 5% from last year.