Survey Finds Very Few Workers Understand Their Retirement Plan

By Staff Report

Sep. 11, 2009

One-third of U.S. workers have little or no understanding of their employer-sponsored defined-contribution plan, according to a new survey by The Hartford Financial Services Group.

Nearly three-quarters of workers say they have “less than a complete understanding” of their employer’s retirement savings plan, the survey found, with most employees indicating that they have a better grasp of other benefits, such as health care coverage and life insurance.

“These results tell us that while the retirement industry has really had a focus on education for the past 10 years, we need to do a better job of targeting groups of participants and customizing programs,” said Jamie Ohl, senior vice president of Hartford’s Retirement Plans Group, in an interview.

The survey of 1,019 adults, conducted in April, found plan participants turn most to their employers for retirement savings advice (22 percent). Participants also seek advice from financial advisors (15 percent), spouses (13 percent), immediate family (12 percent), the Internet (9 percent) and retirement plan providers (7 percent), according to the survey.

Filed by Jeff Nash of Pensions & Investments, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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