Saving for retirement is the top financial concern of men and women in the United States who are eligible to participate in an employer-sponsored DC plan—but men pay greater attention to their plans and rely more on financial advisors, according to a survey.

When it comes to savings goals, retirement tops the list of Americans, according to the study, which was sponsored by MassMutual Retirement Services and conducted by Brightwork Partners, a research-based consultancy. Saving for retirement is also reported as a major savings objective by 63% of respondents, 21 points higher than paying down debt, the second most cited worry.

Overall, respondents see “saving enough for retirement” as more important than “keeping up with monthly expenses”—24% this year, up from 18% in 2011.

The data also show that participants are generally putting more money aside for their golden years. The average retirement savings rate among respondents is 10.5%, up from 9% two years ago.

Additionally, the report reveals that only 28% of respondents currently have a relationship with a personal financial advisor or have had one in the past five years.

But this trend is more prevalent among men. Thirty-one percent of them use the services of a financial professional, compared with 24% of women. And the gender gap in that regard has grown since 2011 when 30% of men had an advisor, compared with 27% of women.

Greater use of advisor services may contribute to the fact that men pay greater attention than women to fund performance (30% versus 22%), income in retirement (26% versus 18%) and asset allocation (25% versus 15%).

Men are also more confident than women about virtually every aspect of retirement planning and DC investment decisions, according to the survey.

Another finding of the report is that respondents still see the retirement plan provider as the “most important source of investment information.” But this year, financial advisors have displaced plan sponsors as the second most important source of this information.

Among those who rely on insights from a financial professional, satisfaction is up—47% of respondents this year say they are “very satisfied,” compared with 25% in 2011. But satisfaction with information from plan sponsors is lower—10% in 2013, down from 30% two years ago.

“The evidence that retirement is on the minds of virtually every American worker is encouraging,” says Merl Baker, a Brightwork Partners principal. “I’m also pleased to see that participants consider financial professionals an important source of investment information and that, among those who use an advisor, satisfaction is up significantly.”

Conducted earlier this year, the nationwide survey polled 2,081 DC plan participants. The 2013 data was compared to the initial survey conducted two years ago.

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Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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