Just over half (56 per cent) of Americans feel on track for retirement, an 11 per cent drop in confidence compared to 2022, according to a new survey by BlackRock Inc.
The survey, which polled more than 450 large defined contribution pension plan sponsors, 1,200 workplace retirement plan savers, 1,300 independent savers and 300 retired workplace savers in the U.S., found the top stressors among respondents were market volatility (93 per cent), inflation (86 per cent) and worries about outliving savings (71 per cent).
In addition, while workers are still contributing to retirement plans at similar rates as 2022, nearly 30 per cent said they’re planning to delay retirement, driven mostly by market volatility concerns. Nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) reported inflation and volatility-related hardships have set them back with saving for retirement, compared to 42 per cent in 2022.
The survey also found only 21 per cent of workers were very confident they’ll have enough money to last through retirement. Yet, 71 per cent said they’d save more now if their plan had an option to provide guaranteed income in retirement and nearly 90 per cent of workplace savers said having access to guaranteed income would positively impact their well-being.
Additionally, 98 per cent of employers said they feel responsible for helping their savers generate income, but most don’t feel highly confident their plan can. Indeed, while 61 per cent of employers were highly confident in 2020 that their plan enabled savers to know how much of their balance can be spent each year in retirement, only 37 per cent said the same this year.
This year’s survey also found a growing interest in active management, with 79 per cent citing interest in using an actively managed fund after learning more. Plan sponsors were equally bullish, with about three-quarters (72 per cent) saying they believe active managers can consistently outperform the market.
While target-date funds only account for around a third of 401(k) plan assets, the survey found 71 per cent of savers said it would be helpful for their employer to automatically reallocate their assets to more appropriate investments for someone their age, up from 65 per cent in 2019. As well, 82 per cent of workplace savers who aren’t aware of target dates would be interested in using one within their retirement plan.
Retirement savers in generation Z were most likely to rely on an employer for help with how much to save and in what way, with 71 per cent saying they don’t understand enough about the investments in their plan to be confident in managing it themselves, compared to roughly half in other generations.
The survey found advisors were the most trusted source of advice on retirement spending — 45 per cent of workplace savers said they use a financial advisor for retirement planning, with almost 30 per cent of those that feel on track for retirement saying access to an advisor is a reason why. Close to half of respondents reported finding these advisors through their employer.
“While the drop in confidence we’re seeing hasn’t translated to a decrease in saving rate yet, this moment matters,” said Anne Ackerley, head of retirement at BlackRock, in a press release. “There’s an opportunity to shore up retirement confidence and help workers navigate an uncertain environment ahead. American workers — particularly Gen Z, are asking for help to plan for their future. It’s our responsibility as an industry to provide them the solutions and tools they need to build more resilient retirement plans.”