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Retirement Planning > Saving for Retirement

Retirement Plan Participants Guess at Savings Goals

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Reports of workers who say they know how much they need to save for retirement may not be entirely accurate. A survey by Diversified, a retirement plan provider, found that over one-third of defined contribution plan participants guessed at how much they need to save.

Diversified surveyed nearly 3,400 people and found 34% “guessed” or “made up” an estimate of how much they would need for retirement. Just 30% have worked with a professional for help setting their goals.

“There’s no reason to guess,” Patricia Advaney, senior vice president of participant solutions for Diversified, said in a statement. “With the abundance of help available—from online tools to guidance to advice—it’s much easier today for plan participants to calculate a retirement income goal, then take appropriate actions to get there.” 

Nearly 70% of respondents said their workplace plan was their only or primary account for retirement savings. More than half said they had less than $100,000 saved. More than a third said they had less than $50,000.

Low deferral rates appear to be part of the problem. Over 60% of respondents said they were saving 10% or less of their annual salary, with a full quarter saying they’re saving less than 5%.

“That’s not enough,” Advaney said. “Participants need to be saving a minimum of 10%. While some may view it as a sacrifice now, they’ll undoubtedly be grateful when they realize it will prevent an even greater sacrifice in retirement.” 

The good news, though, is that 38% of participants have increased the amount they are saving over the last year. Just 3% said they took a hardship withdrawal, while 11% said they took a loan against their defined contribution plan.


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