Survey: Yes to DC Plans, No to Government Intervention

By Mike Bushnell • February 04, 2015 • 0 Comments
Americans’ satisfaction with the DC retirement system is on the rise, and they’re averse to the government making any changes to it, a new report by the Investment Company Institute indicates.

All told, 71% of households have a favorable impression of 401(k) accounts. That number had held relatively steady at between 65% and 67% from 2009 to 2013, before jumping five percentage points in 2014.

Among households that have a DC plan or IRA, 84% expressed a favorable opinion of 401(k) plans. Favorability among households without a DC plan or IRA rose was 47% in 2014, up from 41% in 2009.

The survey also found that 94% of households with at least one DC plan said they value having the ability to choose the investments in their portfolio and to have the option to opt out if they wish. The percentage of respondents in favor was nearly identical across age demographics and household income levels.

Nearly half of all workers, 46%, say they wouldn’t save for retirement at all if they didn’t have a plan at work, including more than 60% of all respondents from households making less than $50,000 annually.

The survey also indicated that Americans don’t want the government to make any massive changes or create new mandates —

  • 88% of respondents opposed removing the tax advantages of DC accounts;
  • 90% opposed lowering the maximum amount of money one can put into a 401(k) plan each year; and
  • 81% of all households said they were against a law that would require all workers to invest in a defined benefit plan. 
The report’s information was gathered from a series of surveys, both online and over the phone. It was prepared by ICI associate economists Daniel Schrass and Michael Bogdan and Sarah Holden, ICI’s Senior Director of Retirement and Investor Research.