“The benefits of participation in a DC plan – especially, the reinforcement of effective planning – clearly build over time,” Castille said. “We need to get employees into the DC system as early as possible, and do whatever helps to sustain their active engagement and build their retirement confidence with a program throughout their working years.”
Going forward, workers have big expectations for their DC plan: 48 percent expect their plan to be their number one source of monthly retirement income, compared with just 17 percent who expect a pension plan to fill that role.
Younger workers have even stronger expectations: about two thirds (63 percent) of workers age 25 to 34 expect their workplace savings plan to fill this primary income generating role, compared with just 32 percent of workers age 55 to 59.
Can Employment Help Fill the Income Gap?For current retirees, employment income covers on average 5.24 percent of monthly expenses. Employment income, however, is relatively more critical for the youngest, “Baby Boomer” era retirees, those age 66 or younger - covering nearly 8 percent of monthly expenses – than it is for older retirees - covering nearly 3 percent of expenses. Among current retirees, just 1 percent say they are working either full or part time because they “need to;” however, 15 percent of current workers anticipate having to do so. “Though some future retirees are looking to employment to fill at least part of their income gap, it’s clear that workers really expect DC plans to address this need,” Castille said. “Plan sponsors should urgently consider what’s needed in terms of enhanced plan design and focused employee communication to deliver against this growing expectation.” Call to Employers to Play an “Activist” Role Workers and retirees generally agree – but retirees agree even more strongly – that employers sponsoring DC plans need to assume key responsibilities for workers’ retirement preparation, particularly regarding the delivery of secure retirement income.