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COLLECTED WISDOM™ on Studies and Research focused on 401k Plans

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401k Plan Asset Allocation, Account Balances, and Loan Activity in 2020

Key Findings: 401k plans draw in many young retirement savers and new hires. Younger 401k plan participants tend to be invested more in equities than older 401k plan participants. Ownership of investments in equities is widespread among 401k plan participants. Target date funds continue to be an often-used investment option among 401k plan participants. 401k plan loans are widely available but rarely taken. The average 401k plan account balance tends to increase with participant age and tenure.

Source: Ebri.org, November 2022

Participants Admit Auto-Enrollment Kickstarts the Retirement Savings Journey

As more employees ask for retirement planning vehicles in their employer-sponsored plans, a Principal study finds automatic features help participants achieve their largest share of retirement income. The latest research from Principal shows that over half (51%) of 725 respondents attributed auto-enrollment to kickstarting their retirement savings journey, and 81% said it helped them begin saving even sooner.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, November 2022

Workers React to Retirement Language and Imagery

Organizations are taking a psychological approach to analyze the way Americans think about their retirement. New research from Capital Group studied close to 2,500 American adults and how they respond to retirement language and imagery, confirming a finding that the industry has understood for some time, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to retirement communications.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, November 2022

Resilient Retirement Savers Shifting Focus to Short-Term Needs: Study

Rising prices and inflation are certainly affecting American workers but despite the economic environment, Americans remain resilient. More than 63 percent of Americans are confident they are financially on track for retirement. The study analyzes the behavior of approximately 4.3 million active DC participants to better understand their savings habits and levels of involvement with retirement planning, particularly during a highly challenging economic and financial environment.

Source: Businesswire.com, November 2022

How Does Local Cost of Living Affect Retirement for Low and Moderate Earners?

This paper uses the Health and Retirement Study to explore how the local cost of living affects Social Security replacement rates and household behavior. In theory, labor markets with a high cost of living also offer more compensation. If this compensating differential is paid in wages, rather than benefits, it reduces the share of earnings replaced by Social Security due to the progressive benefit structure. This paper examines how important the cost of living penalty is, in practice, and whether it impacts household' saving or labor supply.

Source: Bc.edu, November 2022

2022: Gender Lens in DC Plans

The adverse economic consequences of the pandemic disproportionally affected women. Women have dropped out of the workforce at record numbers to take on additional caregiving responsibilities. The study analysis shows that the participation rates of women remain lower than those of men, that women and men contribute at the same rates, women continue to invest more conservatively, women continue to claim hardship at greater rates and have higher loan-to-balance ratios than to men, and 401k balances of women continue to lag those of men.

Source: Bofa.com, November 2022

2022 Participant Survey

Against a backdrop of rising inflation and global instability, many employees are feeling the pressure of meeting their day-to-day financial needs. That sentiment was evident in the 2022 PLANSPONSOR Participant Survey. This year, 2,301 American workers responded to questions about their financial behaviors, preferences, and attitudes; of this group, 774 full- or part-time employees were counted for being active participants in an employer-sponsored defined contribution plan.

Source: Plansponsor.com, October 2022

401k Study Finds Millennials and Gen Z Take Advantage of Broader Range of Retirement Resources Than Previous Generations

Young workers are relying on more than their 401ks to save for retirement as other types of investments play a greater role in their long-term wealth plans, according to the annual nationwide survey of 401k plan participants from Schwab Retirement Plan Services. While the 401k remains the top retirement savings vehicle for today's workers overall, Gen Z and Millennial workers are more likely to also invest in cryptocurrency, real estate, annuities, and small businesses, unlike older generations.

Source: Businesswire.com, October 2022

Invesco DC Study Reveals Majority of Employees Feel Alone in Identifying Best Retirement Strategy

Invesco released findings from a new study exploring employee and employer preferences for generating long-term retirement income. The survey of more than 1,000 retirement plan participants and 100 large plan sponsors uncover concerns about generating long-term retirement income and considerations for bridging the income gap.

Source: Prnewswire.com, October 2022

Four Generations of Workers Are Preparing for Retirement Amid an Uncertain Future

Seventy-six percent of workers say their life priorities changed as a result of the pandemic and 56 percent cite saving for retirement as a financial priority, according to Emerging From the COVID-19 Pandemic: Four Generations Prepare for Retirement, a survey report released by the nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies in collaboration with Transamerica Institute.

Source: Transamericainstitute.org, October 2022

Defined Contribution Plan Participants' Activities, First Half 2022

Retirement saving continued to be a strong focus for defined contribution plan participants through the first half of 2022, ICI research demonstrates. ICI's study tracks contributions, withdrawals, and other activity in 401k and other DC retirement plans, based on DC plan recordkeeper data covering more than 40 million employer-based DC retirement plan participant accounts at the end of June 2022.

Source: Ici.org, September 2022

Factors Contributing to Lower Retirement Confidence Among Women Who Are Not Married

Americans have near-record-high confidence in having enough money to live comfortably throughout retirement. However, unmarried women workers and retirees have lower retirement confidence than their married counterparts and are more likely to have lower incomes and assets. This 37-page report examines the attitudes, considerations, and behaviors surrounding the retirement of women workers and retirees of different marital statuses to provide greater insight into what can help improve women's retirement outcomes.

Source: Ebri.org, September 2022

OregonSaves Has "Meaningfully Increased Employee Savings"

A new study finds that OregonSaves -- launched in 2017 as the first state-sponsored retirement plan -- has "meaningfully increased employee savings," and employees opting out of the program "are often doing so for rational reasons." The study, funded by the U.S. Social Security Administration and conducted by the Michigan Retirement and Disability Research Center, analyzes participation choices, account balances, and inflow/outflow data between August 2018 and April 2020 for OregonSaves.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, August 2022

Nearly Half of Plan Sponsors Considering Changing Advisors, Recordkeepers

Competition amongst plan advisors and recordkeepers is reaching an all-time high, with 47% of plan sponsors considering a new advisor and 48% considering a change of recordkeepers for their 401k plans. This is according to the 13th edition of Fidelity Investments' Plan Sponsor Attitudes Study, released today, which found that in 2022 plan sponsors are the most active in years in making big changes to their retirement plans.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, August 2022

The Connection Between Emergency Savings Accounts and Retirement

Plan sponsors can help drive higher retirement plan contributions from workers by offering robust emergency savings accounts that hew to their preferences, research from a pair of nonprofits shows. The research shows that for low- and moderate-income workers, access to emergency savings accounts is likely to bolster retirement contributions and provide greater financial security.

Source: Plansponsor.com, August 2022

2021 Defined Contribution Consultant Research Study

Recent years have presented unprecedented challenges, and the consulting and advisory community is evolving their businesses to address both obstacles and new opportunities. T. Rowe Price, in partnership with Schaus Group, shares insights on retirement trends from their latest survey of the nation's 32 leading consulting and advisory firms that provide services to more than 33,000 plan sponsor clients and report nearly $7.2T of assets under advisement.

Source: Troweprice.com, July 2022

2022 401k Participant Survey

Inflation is now the top obstacle to saving for a comfortable retirement, according to a new survey from Schwab Retirement Plan Services. The annual nationwide survey of 401k plan participants finds that workers rank inflation (45%) ahead of other obstacles including keeping up with monthly expenses (35%), stock market volatility (33%), and unexpected expenses (33%). Workers believe they'll need to save an average of $1.7 million for retirement, down from $1.9 million reported in last year's survey, and just under half (47%) feel they are very likely to reach their retirement savings goal.

Source: Schwab.com, July 2022

How America Saves 2022

This study is an examination of retirement plan data from five million defined DC plan participants across Vanguard's recordkeeping business. Saving and investing attention is shifting to how best to provide participants with a holistic financial wellness platform, via advice, which also helps meet another challenge, offering guidance for the income needs of retirees who stay in their employers' plans. Meeting these needs, along with continually encouraging strong saving rates with appropriate investment diversification, are the primary drivers in creating successful retirement outcomes for employees.

Source: Vanguard.com, July 2022

2022 Recordkeeping Survey

The annual PLANSPONSOR Recordkeeping Survey was conducted in June via an online questionnaire. Recordkeepers of DC plans participated in the survey and provided the information outlined on the subsequent pages. The charts and profiles are aggregated and ranked by reported total assets, plans and participants. Specifically, the profiles offer a look into a breakdown of sponsor service offerings, participant services, and related offerings.

Source: Plansponsor.com, July 2022

BlackRock: Read on Retirement

After over two years of rising inflation, market volatility, and a global pandemic, savers are looking for security and guidance when it comes to retirement. The 2022 "Read on Retirement" is more comprehensive than in the past surveys. In addition to fielding data from plan sponsors, retirees, and workplace savers -- those who have access to a workplace plan -- also added are 1,300 independent savers. This new segment is comprised of people who are saving for retirement but without access to an employer-sponsored plan.

Source: Blackrock.com, July 2022

How to Think About Recent Trends in the Average Retirement Age?

After a century of decline, work activity among older men stabilized in the 1980s and began to rise in the 1990s. This turnaround reflected changes in Social Security, retirement plans, the nature of work, education levels, and health coverage. In response, the average retirement age for men has risen by about three years. The goal of this 10-page paper is to put this three-year increase in context.

Source: Bc.edu, July 2022

Plan Participants Have Modest Retirement Expectations

It might be time to put to bed the cliched, sunny depictions of retirees traveling overseas or enjoying their golden years carefree on the beach, a survey from Principal shows. A key retirement goal for 71% of workers is now merely to maintain their standard of living, according to the latest update of the Principal Retirement Security Survey. Meanwhile, 44% of individuals cited splurging periodically in retirement as a priority. Between these bookends, 47% of respondents said that not outliving their savings in retirement is a top goal.

Source: Plansponsor.com, July 2022

Study Finds Disconnect Between Actual and Perceived Retirement Risks

Retirees face many financial risks, such as outliving their money, investment losses, and unexpected health expenses, but a new study finds that they may be overestimating some risks while underestimating others. A new study by Wenliang Hou, a quantitative analyst at Fidelity Investments and former research economist at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, develops a lifecycle model of a typical retired household facing five categories of risk. /p>

Source: Napa-net.org, July 2022

Automatic Enrollment's Long-Term Effect on Retirement Saving

This paper finds that 401k savings plans are increasingly offering automatic enrollment coupled with higher employee default deferral rates. Automatic enrollment almost doubles plan participation and successfully gets participants who might not have otherwise saved, saving. Automatic enrollment combined with automatic escalation creates better participation and savings outcomes.

Source: Troweprice.com, June 2022

The Economics of Providing 401k Plans: Services, Fees, and Expenses, 2021

Key findings: 401k plan participants investing in mutual funds tend to hold lower-cost funds. The expense ratios that 401k plan participants incur for investing in mutual funds have declined substantially since 2000. The downward trend in the expense ratios that 401k plan participants incur for investing in mutual funds continued in 2021. 401k plans are a complex employee benefit to maintain and administer, and they are subject to an array of rules and regulations. Employers and employees generally share the costs of operating 401k plans.

Source: Ici.org, June 2022

How America Saves 2022

Using data from How America Saves, Vanguard's annual comprehensive look at Americans' retirement saving habits, Vanguard helps plan sponsors and consultants take action to optimize plan design to better serve employees through their entire investing journey.

Source: Vanguard.com, June 2022

2021 Defined Contribution Consultant Research Study

This study shares insight on retirement trends from our latest survey of the nation's 32 leading consulting and advisory firms that provide services to more than 33,000 plan sponsor clients and report nearly $7.2T of assets under advisement. The study was conducted at the end of 2021 during the continued coronavirus pandemic. Recent years have presented unprecedented challenges, and the study finds the consulting and advisory community evolving their businesses to address both obstacles and new opportunities.

Source: Troweprice.com, June 2022

Understanding the New Defined Contribution Landscape

In its 16th year, the PIMCO US Defined Contribution Consulting Study seeks to help consultants, advisors, and plan sponsors understand the breadth of views and consulting services available within the defined contribution marketplace.

Source: Pimco.com, May 2022

Got a Retirement Plan? Race Plays a Role

A new study takes a close look at who these people are and shows stark differences along racial lines. A large majority of Hispanic workers in the private sector -- two out of every three -- do not have access to a pension or 401k-style plan, and more than half of Black workers do not have access. Although the numbers are lower for Asians (45 percent) and whites (42 percent), they are still substantial.

Source: Bc.edu, May 2022

Small Business Owners Still Resistant to Starting a 401k Plan: Survey

At a time when many companies are boosting 401k benefits to attract and retain employees in a tight labor market, 74 percent of small businesses are still going without any plan at all. Key findings in new research commissioned by ShareBuilder 401k show that owners believe their business is too small and that 401(k)s are too costly. The survey, that polled 500 small business owners from across the country, reveals that only 26 percent currently offer a 401k plan. Responders cited three main reasons for not starting a plan.

Source: Prnewswire.com, May 2022

401k Plan Asset Allocation, Account Balances, and Loan Activity in 2019

In an ongoing collaborative effort, the Employee Benefit Research Institute and the Investment Company Institute collect annual data on millions of 401k plan participants as a means to examine how these participants manage their 401k plan accounts. This 2022 report is an update of EBRI and ICI's ongoing research into 401k plan participants' activity through year-end 2019. The report is divided into four sections: the first describes the EBRI/ICI 401k database; the second presents a snapshot of participant account balances at year-end 2019; the third looks at participants' asset allocations, including an analysis of 401k participants' use of target-date, or lifecycle, funds; and the fourth focuses on participants' 401k loan activity.

Source: Ebri.org, May 2022

Annual 401k Benchmarking Data on Participant Behavior and Plan Design Published

T. Rowe Price released "Reference Point," its annual 401k benchmarking report featuring year-over-year data and analysis on participant behavior and plan design. The report is based on the firm's full-service recordkeeping client data. Key findings are reviewed here.

Source: Prnewswire.com, April 2022

Employers Less Sure that Traditional Target-Date Funds Meet Employees' Retirement Needs

Employers are also increasingly concerned about their employees not saving enough for retirement (66% in 2022 v. 57% in 2020) and risking outliving their savings (63% in 2022 v. 58% in 2020). Almost three-quarters of employers (72%) now say they are highly interested in a new generation of TDFs that gear towards some allocation of lifetime income. Here are the full survey results.

Source: Tiaa.org, April 2022

EBRI: Challenges Aside, Retirement Confidence Remains High

Despite the pandemic and inflation, American workers and retirees remain optimistic about living a comfortable retirement and one key factor that has helped is having a workplace retirement savings plan. This is according to the 32nd annual Retirement Confidence Survey measuring worker and retirement confidence conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and Greenwald Research. In fact, in 2022, 82% of workers who are offered a workplace retirement savings plan are satisfied with it, a finding that has remained steady from 2021.

Source: Napa-net.org, April 2022

Retirement Reimagined Study

Millennials have an evolving vision of retirement, different from previous generations, according to Schwab's new Retirement Reimagined Study that uses advanced predictive modeling techniques to forecast key differences in how Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers will approach saving for and living in retirement. The first of its kind study also projects four distinct retirement personas that Millennials could fall into as many of them transition to retirement around 2050.

Source: Schwab.com, April 2022

Record Growth of CITs Spurs Rebound of Contributions to Target-Date Strategies

On the heels of releasing its inaugural Retirement Plan Landscape Report earlier this month, Morningstar today published its annual Target-Date Strategy Landscape Report, which found that total assets in target-date strategies grew to a record $3.27 trillion at the end of 2021, nearly a 20% increase over the previous year. The 2022 report also examines the growing trend of collective investment trusts as plan sponsors' preferred target-date vehicle, how fees continue to be a key driver in target-date selection, and primary differences between "to" versus "through" glide paths.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, March 2022

Plan Sponsors Adding 401k Enhancements

Employers are eyeing changes to their DC plans to improve their employees' retirement security and financial wellbeing and to help with recruitment and retention. In a survey of 363 DC plan sponsors representing a broad range of industries, Willis Towers Watson found that 75% of respondents made a change to their plan in the last two years and expect to make at least one change over the next two years. An additional 14% of sponsors that did not make a change over the last two years plan on making at least one change over the next two years.

Source: Napa-net.org, March 2022

Study Shows the Value of DC Plans for Employees

An ICI survey also found defined contribution plan participants want to maintain control of their investments. Fortunately, most plans offer guardrails for those that would harm themselves by doing so.

Source: Plansponsor.com, March 2022

Defined Contribution Plan Profile: A Close Look at ERISA 403b Plans, 2018

This 68-page report focuses on ERISA 403b plans in 2018. It first analyzes 403b plans in the Department of Labor 2018 Form 5500 Research File. Focus then shifts to more than 6,200 audited 403b plans in the BrightScope Defined Contribution Plan Database, which typically have 100 participants or more.

Source: Ici.org, March 2022

Research Finds Americans Remain Committed to Saving for Retirement

Defined contribution plan participants' contribution activity remained strong through the first three quarters of 2021 according to ICI's "Defined Contribution Plan Participants' Activities, First Three Quarters of 2021." This ongoing study tracks contributions, withdrawals, and other activity in 401k and other DC retirement plans, based on DC plan recordkeeper data covering more than 30 million participant accounts in employer-based DC plans at the end of September 2021.

Source: Ici.org, February 2022

American Views on Defined Contribution Plan Saving, 2021

The survey polled respondents about their views on defined contribution retirement account saving and their confidence in 401k and other DC plan accounts. Survey responses indicated that Americans value the discipline and investment opportunity that 401k plans represent and that individuals were largely opposed to changing the tax preferences or investment control in those accounts. A majority of respondents also affirmed a preference for control of their retirement accounts and opposed proposals to require a portion of retirement accounts to be converted into a fair contract promising them income for life from either the government or an insurance company.

Source: Ici.org, February 2022

Look Around the Corners: A New Perspective for Tomorrow's Retiree

The nature of retirement is evolving. Today's retirement savers need to do more than just look down the road. They need to look around the corners to prepare for uncertainties and avoid making costly mistakes. As pension plan coverage continues to decline, individuals have more responsibility for their retirement outcomes. They also have fewer options and less flexibility to adjust to changing circumstances. This 15-page retirement study focuses on a few key factors that influence retirement outcomes, giving employers and advisors insights to help workers and retirees with retirement decisions.

Source: Allspringglobal.com, January 2022

2021 Best in Class DC Providers

From our annual survey of approximately 3,000 defined contribution plan sponsors, DC plan providers are measured and evaluated according to feedback from their clients. Major DC plan providers are rated in the various client categories they serve, and benchmark information is collected for plan sponsors to gauge their plans against their peers.

Source: Plansponsor.com, January 2022

401ks Substantially More Costly Than Pensions

401k retirement accounts are substantially more costly than pension plans, according to a new analysis from the national institute on retirement security. Economic efficiencies unique to pensions enable plans to deliver retirement benefits at half the cost of 401k accounts, with four-fifths of the cost differential occurring post-retirement.

Source: Nirsonline.org, January 2022

Auto-Enrollment Retirement Plans in OregonSaves

This new study looks at the impact of the first state-sponsored auto-IRA program on those who previously lacked access to a plan. It analyzes participation choices, inflow and outflow data between August 2018 and April 2020, and the evolution of account balances.

Source: Umich.edu, January 2022

A Visual Depiction of the Shift From DB to DC Plans in the Private Sector

This 3-page report from the Congressional Research Service illustrates the shift from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans that has taken place in the last 40 years.

Source: Congress.gov, December 2021

The Impact of Employer Defaults and Match Rates on Retirement Saving

This study evaluates the interaction between employer match and default rates on savings outcomes among new employees. Selecting a higher default rate has the largest impact on employee savings rates. Plans with low default rates that match a high percentage of employee earnings induce higher-income participants to actively move away from the low default savings rate, resulting in a wider savings gap between higher- and lower-income employees. When default savings rates are set higher, fewer employees move away from the default resulting in higher and more equal savings rates. Additionally, there is evidence that higher default savings rates increase usage of plan default investments.

Source: Ssrn.com, December 2021

Study Suggests Substantial Retirement Risks Remain

While most U.S. workers say they are saving for retirement through employer-sponsored plans or other means, a much smaller percentage say they are "very confident" they will be able to retire fully and comfortably. According to the 320-page Compendium of Findings About the Retirement Outlook of U.S. Workers from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, more than four out of five workers (82%) say they are saving for retirement through their current employer's 401k or similar plan and/or outside of work.

Source: Asppa.org, December 2021

A Compendium of Findings About the Retirement Outlook of U.S. Workers

Since 1998, Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies has conducted this national survey of U.S. business employers and workers regarding their attitudes toward retirement. The overall goals for the study are to illuminate emerging trends, promote awareness, and help educate the public. It has grown to be one of the longest-running and largest national surveys of its kind. This document is 320-pages.

Source: Transamericainstitute.org, December 2021

Worker Participation in Employer-Sponsored Pensions: Data in Brief

This 7-page report provides data on the percentage of U.S. workers who have access to and who participate in employer-sponsored pension plans. The data are from the National Compensation Survey, conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Source: Congress.gov, November 2021

Private-Sector Retirement Plans; Abstract of 2019 Form 5500 Annual Reports

Private-sector retirement plans are required by ERISA to submit annual reports on the operations, funding, and investments of their employee benefit plans, which is satisfied by filing Form 5500. This 72-page paper presents summary statistics from Form 5500 series reports for plan years ending in 2019. The information presented includes weighted counts of plans and participants for both defined benefit and defined contribution retirement plans, various break-outs of these plan characteristics, as well as information on their assets, contributions, and investments.

Source: Dol.gov, October 2021

Changes in 401k Plan Asset Allocation Among Consistent Participants, 2010-2018

This paper provides an update of a longitudinal analysis of plan participants drawn from the EBRI/ICI 401k database. It examines how asset allocations change over the years within the accounts of consistent participants, that is, those who maintained accounts in each year from 2010 through 2018.

Source: Ebri.org, October 2021

Study Reveals That Americans Are Shifting Retirement Due to Pandemic

New research from Northwestern Mutual shows that Covid-19 has changed many Americans' retirement plans, with over one-third (35%) saying it has either moved up or pushed back their target retirement age. Almost a quarter (24%) plan to retire later than previously expected while 11% plan to retire earlier.

Source: Prnewswire.com, October 2021

Managed Accounts and TDFs Better Together Than Apart, Research

For years plan sponsors and consultants have compared the outcomes of managed accounts and target-date funds within workplace retirement plans. The thinking was that plan sponsors and consultants should choose one or the other to offer retirement plan participants. New research and analysis from Empower Institute show that managed accounts and target-date funds instead complement each other and together can improve investors' retirement savings outcomes.

Source: Empower-retirement.com, October 2021

Target-Date Funds: Evidence Points to Growing Popularity and Appropriate Use by 401k Plan Participants

Since 1996, the EBRI and the ICI have worked together on collecting and analyzing annual data on millions of 401k plan participants' accounts. This 21-page report analyzes 401k plan participant's use of target-date funds using year-end 2018 data from the EBRI/ICI 401k database. Key findings are summarized.

Source: Ebri.org, September 2021

Rising 401k Contribution Rates, Fewer Plan Loans, Show a Return to Normal

The average annual 401k savings rate for plan participants reached a new high of 9.3 percent of workers' earnings this year, according to new research. Fidelity's analysis, released in August and based on 23,600 Fidelity-administered corporate defined contribution plans as of June 30, 2021, showed workers starting to feel more stability and a sense of normalcy, compared with the results of participant surveys Fidelity conducted last year.

Source: Shrm.org, August 2021

40% of 401k Participants Say Fees a Mystery, GAO Reports

Almost 40% of 401k plan participants do not fully understand the fees they are paying, a Government Accountability Office report released Thursday found. Moreover, 41% of participants incorrectly believe that they do not pay any 401k plan fees, according to the report.

Source: Pionline.com, August 2021

2021 PLANSPONSOR 403b Market Survey

403b plans are in many ways the same as traditional corporate 401k plans, but they also have many unique challenges. The PLANSPONSOR 403b Market Survey covers the providers who serve this market, what they focus on in terms of market segment, and the services they provide to 403b plan sponsors.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, August 2021

Data on Retirement Contributions to Defined Contribution Plans

Individuals can save for retirement in two types of tax-advantaged accounts: defined contribution and individual retirement accounts. This Congressional Research Service report provides Internal Revenue Service data on contributions to DC accounts in 2018.

Source: Crsreports.congress.gov, August 2021

2021 RIA Benchmarking Study

The RIA Benchmarking Study by Schwab Advisor Services is a leading study of the RIA industry. The study features insights based on self-reported information on topics such as asset and revenue growth, sources of new clients, products and pricing, staffing, compensation, marketing, technology, and financial performance. Now in its fifteenth year, more than 1,300 independent advisor firms representing over $1.5 trillion in AUM participated in this year's study.

Source: Schwab.com, July 2021

2021 Recordkeeping Survey

The annual PLANSPONSOR Recordkeeping Survey is compiled from self-reported data submitted by recordkeepers of defined contribution plans. This year's results represent nearly $9 trillion in DC assets and are estimated to account for over 90% of the total DC market, according to internal analysis based on the "2021 Investment Company [Institute] Fact Book."

Source: Plansponsor.com, July 2021

New Research Finds Millennials and Gen X Increasingly Concerned About Retirement in Wake of Pandemic

A national survey finds that Millennials and Generation X are more worried about retirement as compared to older generations. Sixty-four percent of Millennials and 54 percent of Generation X are more concerned about their retirement security in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The level of concern is at 42 percent for Baby Boomers and 25 percent for the Silent Generation.

Source: Prnewswire.com, July 2021

2021 Defined Contribution Plan Participant Survey Findings

This DC Plan Participant Survey was conducted as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted financial markets, workplace trends, and spending patterns. Against this backdrop, participants remained broadly resilient in maintaining their retirement savings efforts, but many also continued to appear overwhelmed and unsure about the various aspects of retirement planning.

Source: Jpmorgan.com, July 2021

The Economics of Providing 401k Plans: Services, Fees, and Expenses, 2020

The study found that 401k plan participants investing in mutual funds tend to hold lower-cost funds, the expense ratios that 401k plan participants incur for investing in mutual funds have declined substantially since 2000, and the downward trend in the expense ratios that 401k plan participants incur for investing in hybrid and bond mutual funds continued in 2020.

Source: Ici.org, July 2021

Survey: 84% of Workers Say Auto-Enrolment Is Key to Saving Earlier for Retirement

The vast majority (84%) of workers that were automatically enrolled in their workplace retirement plan say they started to save for retirement sooner than if they had to take action to make the enrollment decision on their own. However, only one-third of employers currently offer automatic enrollment, and among those that do, just 21% have an automatic deferral rate of 6% of eligible pay, according to the latest quarterly Principal Retirement Security Survey.

Source: Principal.com, July 2021

Workers More Receptive to Auto-Features, Post-COVID-19

Eighty-four percent of workers who have been automatically enrolled into their workplace retirement plan say they are glad that their savings have been jump-started. They say auto-enrollment has gotten them on the retirement savings path at an earlier age than if they had decided on their own. This is according to Principal's latest "Retirement Security Survey," which is based on a poll of more than 2,000 workers and retirees, and 230 plan sponsors.

Source: Planadviser.com, July 2021

Data Find That Employer Contributions Are Widespread in 401k Plans

Employer contributions are prevalent in 401k plans, according to an updated study on 401k plans from BrightScope and the Investment Company Institute. The study found that in 2018, 87 percent of large 401k plans (typically those with 100 participants or more, as defined by the DOL) covering more than nine out of 10 401k participants had employer contributions.

Source: Ici.org, July 2021

Availability of State Auto-IRAs Appears to Complement Private Market for Retirement Plans

As more states enact retirement savings programs for private-sector workers who can't save through their jobs, policymakers and analysts have speculated about the potential impact on employers: Would these state programs "crowd out" the private market for plans such that businesses would not adopt their own 401ks or comparable alternatives? Preliminary data from DOL annual filings by employer-sponsored plans suggests that in states that have created what is known as an auto-IRA, employers with plans continue to offer them, and businesses without plans are still adopting new ones at similar or higher rates than before the state options were available.

Source: Pewtrusts.org, July 2021

2021 401k Participant Study

Plan participants are more positive in 2021 about meeting their retirement goals than they were last year at the beginning of the pandemic. Almost three in ten believe their lifestyle in retirement will improve. On average, participants think they need $1.9 million saved for retirement.

Source: Schwab.com, June 2021

Pandemic Drove Bump in Rollovers

Rollovers from defined contribution plans to IRAs increased by more than 12.6% in 2020, according to a recently released study. The Secure Retirement Institute estimates that rollovers from DC plans to IRAs totaled approximately $623 billion in 2020, up from the $565 billion transferred in 2019.

Source: Asppa.org, June 2021

2021 Canadian Retirement Survey

New research from HOOPP and Abacus Data show two of three Canadians have saved nothing for retirement during COVID, retirement tops list of worries. Most Canadians have not set aside anything for retirement in the past year (63%) which is up 5% since last year. The survey also found a widespread belief that better access to workplace pensions is needed to avoid a retirement crisis.

Source: Pensionpulse.Blogspot.com, June 2021


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